The origin of cod in Mexican cuisine

Originally from Noruega, cod is a white fish that lives in cold seas. It is caught in the north of the Iberian Peninsula and the Scandinavian countries

The origin of cod in Mexican cuisine
Mexican eat a delicious cod meal in winter and lent – Photo: Sandra Torres/EL UNIVERSAL
English 16/11/2019 13:17 Newsroom Mexico City Actualizada 13:32
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Gadus morhua, best known as cod, is the fish Mexicans eat as a traditional meal at Christmas time and lent. Originally from Norway, cod is a white fish that lives in cold seas. It is caught in the north part of the Iberian Peninsula and the Scandinavian countries.

Master in Sciences Héctor Salvador Espinoza Pérez, curator of the National Fish Collection of the Biology Institute of the National Autonomous University of Mexico, says cod arrived in Mexico thanks to the Spaniards, who brought it dried, for it was very hard to transport it fresh.

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“Cod was brought by the Spaniards who migrated to our country as a way to maintain their traditions; as a matter of fact, it is known that this fish was prepared during Colonial times with ingredients from our region; the recipes included products such as tomatoes and peppers but without it being spicy. It was how “bacalao a la vizcaína” (Mexican style cod) was born,” he adds.

There is another type of cod distributed in Canada. It is a fish different from the Norwegian one and that is also commercialized in Mexico. This cod goes through the same process, that is, it is dried and salted just like the one from Norway.

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A big fish
Cod is a fish that moves in big shoals and that lives at medium depths from 200 to 600 meters, approximately.

Its habitat is in the seas of the North Atlantic, from North Carolina to Greenland, from the Bay of Biscay to the English Channel, as well as in the North and the Baltic seas, where low temperatures prevail. They can be over a meter long and weight between six and seven kilograms.

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Héctor Espinoza adds that this fish is a carnivore that feeds from other fish, crustaceans, and mollusks.

Since it is a white fish, its fat content is minimal. Its fat reserves are concentrated in the lived used for the elaboration of fish oil. Cod liver oil is highly rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, as well as vitamins A and D.

The most common cod fishing season is during the months from December to May.

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