bacalhau salted cod with vegetablesbacalhau salted cod with vegetablesbacalhau salted cod with vegetablesbacalhau salted cod with vegetables

I keep forgetting how much I appreciate salty-fishy flavours. Fish eggs, tarama dip, anchovies, sardines and now "bacalhau". A portuguese staple (or so it seems), I was fortunate enough to discover this dish having dinner 2 summers ago with my gorgeous cousin Angie and her portuguese husband Gil and my niece Kayla. In their version, they had de-salted the fish beforehand and then boiled the fish and potatoes together and then baked it all in the oven with the onions. A wonderfully tender blend of flavours and a huge dish, my whole family was there too. My version (because I make a smaller version and use salted cod flakes and not larger whole pieces of cod) requires that you reserve the de-salting water and quickly boil only the vegetables in it. It is in the baking dish that you add in the marinated fish and remaining liquid, so the vegetables still have a slight crunch or firmness to them and the fish flakes do not get rubbery or dry out. I’m not a "dunker" by nature but the remaining sauce is excellent with large pieces of country bread. Next on my list, must whip up something salty and fishy again, perhaps sardines...

bacalhau salted cod with vegetables


2 large bowls


the ratio is 1,5 : 1… about one and a half times the weight in vegetables compared to the weight of the salted fish

  • 400 grams of salted cod (large flakes)
  • 6 small baby potatoes (250 grams with the skins on)
  • 6 small peeled yellow onions (225 grams when peeled)
  • 2 small fennel bulbs (125 grams when stalks removed)
  • 1 cup chopped parsley (20 grams)
  • 1 cup chopped dill (20 grams)
  • 2 large cloves of garlic (20 grams)
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2-3 dried juniper berries (a nice resiny touch)
  • 1 branch of rosemary
  • 4 lemons (approx. 140 grams of lemon juice)
  • olive oil (140 grams)
  • ground black pepper


  • the night before, place your fish in a large bowl and soak in cold water overnight
  • the next morning, transfer the salty water to a cooking pot and reserve the water
  • resoak the salted cod in cold water for another 6-9 hours and add this water to the previous water in the cooking pot
  • remove excess water from the salted cod flakes by straining
  • in a large bowl, add the lemon juice, black pepper, chopped parsley and dill and olive oil and toss with the salted cod flakes/pieces and let sit while preparing the vegetables
  • wash your 6 small baby potatoes and cut in half
  • peel your 6-7 small onions and cut in half
  • cut the stalks off the 2 small fennel bulbs and cut in half
  • start heating the salted cod fish flavoured water and toss in 2 bay leaves, 1 stalk of rosemary, the stalks of the fennel bulbs and 1 small branch of celery

avoid covering the pot of salty water as it’s heating up because it will quickly overflow and froth even if only half-filled

  • when the water starts boiling, add the potatoes first and boil for 4 minutes and then add in the fennel bulbs and boil for 2 more minutes and finally add in the onions and boil for 2 more minutes (total boiling time is 8 minutes)

boiling the vegetables in the salted cod water will flavour them (no salt added to this dish) and do not overboil because you simply want to flavour and tenderize the vegetables because they will also be baked in the oven later

  • Immediately strain the water from the vegetables (to avoid overcooking) and place in a small baking pan
  • lay the fish flakes over the vegetables and pour in the remaining olive oil and lemon juice and herbs marinade over everything
  • cover the baking pan with a sheet of aluminum foil and poke holes in it and let sit for 5 minutes
  • heat your oven to 200°C (390°F) and bake for 30-35 minutes with the aluminum foil and remove the foil 5 minutes before the end
  • serve in deep bowls with the sauce