Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Cod Fish in Portuguese Iconic Cuisine

Today I thought about sharing some facts with you ...
... about something.
For my last BD (past week)
I received a package
from my sister in Portugal (thanks again sister) with...
... cod fish!
I bet you all very surprised that I got cod fish by mail!
Eh eh eh... I knew it!
And that's the reason this post is all about salted cod fish
(bacalhau, in Portuguese).
From my life experience in Tennessee,
nobody here has ever really seen or known about salted cod fish.
But in Europe and specially in Portugal, dried salted cod fish
is the most usual way of buying this so delicious and healthy fish.
It will keep for quite a while in this salted condition,
if properly rapped and kept in a dark not too hot place.
So... how do you prepare salted cod fish...?
First... it needs to be soaked in water,
for at least 24 hours,
and the water needs to be changed a couple of times
(to remove the salt).
After being soaked, it looks like this,  
 and it's ready to cook or to freeze.

Here you can find a direct link
to the wikipedia pages for salted cod.
It has a pretty good description
and does refer a little bit
the important role of the Portuguese in the processing and use of salted cod.

Since my early childhood
 salted cod was part of every weekly menu.
It's said the Portuguese have more than a 1000 ways to prepare salted cod.
I will not say I know the all thousand ones... but I do know a few.
My favourite however is the Portuguese Cod Fish Stew
(aka Caldeirada de Bacalhau),
and you can find the recipe on my Recipe Box.
Also on my Recipe Box there's a Fish Casserole
(aka Bacalhau a Bras)
that I've published sometime ago.
I do believe those two are the most famous Portuguese recipes
for salted cod,
or so I do remember from my childhood.
But this time I've decided to make my own version of another famous Portuguese recipe Bacalhau a Lagareiro.
There really isn't a translation for this,
but I'll do my best...
The word lagareiro comes from lagar,
which is the place where olives are crushed in a huge press to make olive oil...
so, lagareiro it's the name given to the man who operates the lagar,
 thus the name for the recipe Bacalhau a Lagareiro 
(you'll get it better as soon as you read the recipe).
my version of the recipe differs from the original because
in Portugal
this dish is made with small new unpeeled potatoes
(I didn't had any)
that you slightly smash with your fist as they come out of the oven...
(batatas a murro).
The garlic and the olive oil give it a heavenly flavour!

Now to my version of the recipe.
You'll going to need (for 2 servings):
  • 4/5 medium potatoes
  • 2 pieces of cod fish
  • 1 head of garlic gloves
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh lemon, parsley
Slice the potatoes not too thin, maybe about one inch slices.Start by placing the cod fish pieces on a baking dish
(large enough to accommodate both the fish and the potatoes).
Place the sliced potatoes around the fish.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Crush the garlic gloves, thinly sliced,
and sprinkle over the fish and potatoes.
Generously pour olive oil over potatoes and fish.
Put in preheated oven at 425 degrees for about one hour,
or until slightly tan
(the garlic will get a bit dark).
I've covered the pan with foil for about 45 minutes, and then uncovered and switched to broil for about 5, 10 minutes.

Squeeze a little fresh lemon over, and sprinkle some fresh parsley if you like it.
You can also serve with some roasted bell peppers.
Yummy!... it is good!...


  1. I came across your blog because of the cd ornaments and looking around came upon this. The last time I ate it was in the summer when I visited my mum and dad in Spain. Funny how we have the same food. Delicious. Thanks for the reminder

  2. You're right, Maria, we do share some good and cool things :0) It was a pleasure to read your comment, made me smile and feel home sick, once again!