Dinner/ European recipes/ Fish & Seafood/ Oven dishes

Bacalao – Salted Cod Fish Stew

6 December 2020

Bacalao is a salted fish, which means it’s preserved in salt. You can’t eat it as is, you really need to soak it for 24-48 hours (and refresh the water a few times) to get rid of the salt, but it’s worth it. Because of this preserving technique the fish is really full of flavour and the texture much more firm than regular cod, it gives a real bit. Perfect for in a stew!

Inspired by a recipe from All Recipes.

Bacalau - Salted Cod Fish Stew

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Dinner Portuguese
By Saffron Serves: 4
Prep Time: 30 minutes + 24-48 hours soaking Cooking Time: 30 minutes Total Time: 1 hour


  • 400 - 500 g Bacalao - dried salted cod fish, soaked (see notes)
  • 800g waxy potatoes, peeled
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped, divided
  • 4 tomatoes, sliced
  • bunch chopped fresh parsley, divided
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp chili flakes
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 4 hard cooked eggs, sliced
  • Handful black putted olives (±20)



Soak the dried salted cod in cold water for 24-48 hours, changing the water several times (se notes)


Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the soaked cod, and boil for about 5 minutes until fish flakes easily with a fork.


Remove cod from water, and save water for cooking potatoes.


Remove skin and bones from the cod, and flake the meat into pieces using a fork. Set fish aside in a large bowl.


In a small bowl, stir together the olive oil, 2 cloves of garlic, 1 tbsp of parsley, chili flakes flakesand black pepper.


Pour over the fish, and toss lightly to coat, set aside to marinade.


Preheat the oven to 180°C.


Place the potatoes into the fish water, and bring to a boil. Cook for 20 minutes until tender.


Drain under cool water, peel and cut into 1/2 cm slices.


While the potatoes are cooking, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.


Add the onions, and sauté until golden and caramelized.


Stir one clove of garlic into the onions. Set aside.


Grease a 20x30cm baking dish with olive oil.


Layer half of the potato slices in the bottom.


Cover with half of the cod, half the tomatoes and half of the onions. Season well with black pepper.


Repeat layers, ending with onion.


Spread the olives over the top.


Bake for 20 minutes in the preheated oven, until lightly browned.


Before serving, garnish the top with the sliced eggs and parsley.


Soaking the Bacalao: Some recipes ask for 24 hours soaking, others 48 hours. I tasted mine after 24 hours and I felt that the salt level was fine as it was. In the end I didn't make it till the next day, so it soaked for 48 hours, but I didn't taste a huge difference with the day before. So always taste before you start cooking with it so you know the saltiness it will bring to the dish.

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