Chick Pea and Cod Soup

1/2 lb. salt cod
1 lb. chick-peas, soaked overnight in water to cover
1/2 head garlic, un-peeled in 1 piece
1 bay leaf
1 med. onion peeled
Salt to taste
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 slices French bread, 1/4 inch thick
1 clove garlic, peeled
Few strands saffron
1/4 lb. spinach, wash, trimmed and cut into thin strips
Garlic croutons (optional)

Soak salt cod in water to cover for 24 hours, changing the water 2 or 3 times. Drain chick-peas. Place in a 5 quart pot with a tightly fitted lid. Add water to cover, 1/2 head garlic, bay leaf, onion and salt to taste. Cover, bring to a boil and simmer until chick-peas are tender about 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Drain the salt cod. Add cod to chick-peas during last 1/2 hour of cooking time. In a skillet, heat oil and fry bread and 1 clove of garlic until golden. Puree in blender with saffron and 1 cup of cooking liquid from soup. Add to soup. Remove garlic head and bay leaf. Set aside some whole chick-peas and cod for garnish. Puree remainder of soup in small batches. Return to stove and heat to simmer. Correct seasoning. Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with whole chick-peas, flakes of salt cod, spinach and croutons.

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Cajun Country -- New Iberia, Louisiana