Easy Portuguese bacalhau recipes usually start out the same way and branch from there. Read on for more facts & information…
The Portuguese people prepare fish grilled, poached, deep-fried, boiled, stewed in clay pots or roasted. The most popular fish served and prepared within the Portuguese food tradition is the bacalhau (known as the cod to speakers of English).
We’ve outlined a basic Portuguese bacalhau recipe below and added a few suggestions for variation after that. When it comes to Portuguese bacalhau recipes the variations are almost endless.
You will need the following ingredients:
• 3 cups – desalted bacalhau – cooked and shredded (if you need to desalt your bacalhua see below)
• One half of a good sized onion, finely chopped
• 1 green pepper sliced into strips
• 2 egg yokes
• 1 ¾ cups of full cream milk (over 27% butterfat) or light cream
• ¼ cup of red or white wine (full-bodied preferred)
• 4 tbsp. Dijon mustard
• 4 medium-sized potatoes – cubed and fried
• Parmesan cheese or similar
• 6 tbsp. butter
• 1-cup milk
• Add salt, nutmeg and/or black pepper to taste
Proceed as follows:
• Put the whole portions of desalted cod in a water and milk bath that covers the cod completely. Simmer for 15 minutes – you will notice puffing and that portions become considerably more flakey.
• While the cod cools, you should preheat the oven to 175 C.
• Drain cod and allow it to cool. Once cool enough to handle, remove bones and skin of the cod and throw it out. Place the cod flakes in a food processor, pulse a few times to slightly shred it.
• Peel potatoes and cut into cubes. Fry in oil at 350 F until golden brown. Note: lightly salting the cubes before frying results in a more pleasant flavor than brining after. Drain on paper towels and let cool.
• In a small saucepan melt butter 2 tbsp add onion, saute until translucent. Set it aside.
• In a large bowl combine the shredded cod, sautéed onions and fried potato cubes.
• In a smaller bowl to create a mixture of cream, combining egg yokes, Dijon, salt and pepper, nutmeg and cream. Mix, then add wine gently in.
• Pour the creamy mixture over the cod. Next gently fold until well blended.
• Place on individual plates. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and grated Parmesan
• Dot the tops of each dish with chunks of butter.
• Place in the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.
To desalt cod you will need to do the following:
Put cod portions in water for 24 hours. The salted portions can go in a large plastic dish or a glass bowl with enough room to spread cod portions out flat and to cover them completely with water. Let the cod soak, skin-side-up for 12 hours. Change the water completely. Put the container back in refrigerator. Soak for another 12 hours.
Variations on a theme:
• Black olives can be added to the mix right before you pour the creamy mixture over the cod portions.
• When you sauté the onions you can add in a garlic clove or two to enliven things further.
• Some prefer boiled potatoes over the fried ones in the recipe above.
• Garnishing your bacalhua with fresh cut parsley is another popular option.