Salt cod is dried, salted cod that needs to be re-hydrated and de-salted before use. It looks pretty unappetising – a bit like a dried-up leather shoe – but softens once rehydrated and tastes delicious when cooked. It’s extremely popular in Mediterranean countries (particularly Portugal, where it's known as bacalhau), as well as in tropical countries, where it keeps well despite the hot temperatures. In some parts of Italy, salt cod is traditionally eaten on Christmas Eve; in France, it's used as the basis for brandade.
To rehydrate salt cod, soak it in cold water for 24 to 48 hours and change the water frequently. Salt cod can then be poached or baked, or used in stews, fishcakes or fish mousses.