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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Salt Cod (Bacalao) with Potatoes over Rice

Bacalao, pronounced [bah-kah-LAH-oh] is Portuguese dried, salted cod fish. Before refrigeration, fish was dried and preserved in salt to keep in the cellar. There are hundreds of variations of bacalao recipes, but my favorite has always been Bacalao con Patatas (bacalao with potatoes) – however I don’t make it much at home because traditional recipes require too many steps and forethought for my bad habits (impatience and spontaneity).

After spying a bag of bacalao at my local market, I decided to create a recipe that that would cut out a major tedious step. Unfortunately, I couldn’t nix the “forethought” part – as bacalao needs to be soaked overnight in water to get rid of some of its salt. It’s a step that can’t be skipped (boo) and there really isn’t a good shortcut.

The “major tedious step” I’m talking about is boiling the potatoes first before adding it to the dish. Okay, so I’m being dramatic, but bringing a large pot of water to boil (and of course, staring at the darn thing waiting for the first bubbles) and then cooking the potatoes until tender is crazy boring and requires another pot on the stove.

Instead, dice the potatoes into 1/2″ dice, briefly brown them in the saute pan along with the rest of the vegetables. Then add the bacalao, a cup of water, cover and let ‘em all simmer quietly and harmoniously for 15 minutes, just enough time to cook the potatoes through.

Serve over pasta, rice, quinoa….or enjoy with a loaf of bread.

Salt Cod (Bacalao) with Potatoes over Rice

Step 1: soak the bacalao overnight in cool water. This is a step you cannot skip….the fish will be way to salty.

Salt Cod (Bacalao) with Potatoes over Rice

The fresh ingredients – bell pepper, garlic, onion, tomatoes, salt cod (bacalao), celery and potatoes. All the veg are diced small – quicker cooking!

First, brown the potatoes in the saute pan.

Then saute the aromatics – garlic, onion, bell pepper, celery.

and add the rest of the ingredients in:

Including the de-salted (and drained) bacalao.

Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

Serve over rice, pasta, quinoa…or enjoy with a loaf of bread.


Salt Cod (Bacalao) with Potatoes over Rice Recipe

Servings: 4 Prep Time: 15 minutes + overnight soaking Cook Time: 20 minutes


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large russet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2" dice
1 bell pepper, diced
1/2 onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tomatoes, diced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup water
2 cups rice grains + water to cook
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 pound salt cod (bacalao), soaked overnight (see note below)


1. The night before, cover the bacalao with cool water and refrigerate.

2. Drain the bacalao, rinse with fresh water. Cut into 1" pieces.

3. Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat with the olive oil. When hot, add the potatoes and cook until lightly browned on all sides, about 2 minutes. Add in the bell pepper, onion, celery and garlic and saute for 3-4 minutes. Add in the tomatoes, tomato paste, water and stir. Bring to a simmer and add in the bacalao. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked through. Stir in the parsley.

4. In the meantime, cook the rice according to package instructions. Serve the stew over rice.


51 Responses to “Salt Cod (Bacalao) with Potatoes over Rice”

  1. Bev Weidner — 1/17/12 @ 11:45 am

    I’ve always been so curious about this….SALT COD character. I feel better now.

    • Kompas — 1/3/14 @ 10:06 pm

      I tried doing this at home and bamm
      it was the best thing i ever had ! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Deanna — 1/17/12 @ 2:05 pm

    Yum! I love salt cod. We used to make bacalao fritters when I worked in catering. I loved them. I will have to try this.

  3. Ohhh I could totally get down with this!

  4. Ana_IloveTdP — 1/17/12 @ 7:46 pm


    I always thought the country of origin of bacalao (cured with salt) was Spain. Maybe because I was raised in Spain is the reason why cured bacalao sounds very familiar to me ;)

    And, hoping you don’t see my comment as a pain (if so, sooorry!!), I would say that bacalao is a spanish word (and bacalhau would be in portuguese word for cod).

    Last thing, I promise, I’d like to say my fave portuguese dish with bacalao is bacalhau à Braz :D I love it!!

  5. wok with ray — 1/17/12 @ 11:08 pm

    Looks fresh and delicious!

  6. Lindsay — 1/18/12 @ 9:27 am

    Remember Riffs truck from FBF? They make these incredible cod fritters. In.Credible.

  7. Lauren — 1/18/12 @ 4:25 pm

    I’m loving everything about this.

  8. Miri Leigh — 1/19/12 @ 5:44 pm

    This looks delicious. Love the dash of color!

  9. Pandalicious — 1/23/12 @ 11:59 am

    wowza, that looks amazing!! i love anything over potatoes and rice!

  10. love cooking — 2/8/12 @ 10:55 am

    I love sauté dishes serve with rice. This is lovely. I think I might try to use a smoked fish or fresh fish fillets to cut the works of soaking the fish over night. I think it will be very nice too. Just need some seasoning. :)

  11. I love bacalao! I love it roasted in the oven with potatoes and onions and boiled eggs and then pouring some olive oil and vinegar on it when ready to eat. I will have to try this recipe too. Thanks for sharing :)

  12. Emma — 3/21/12 @ 8:26 pm

    Actually no, bacalao is made with dried saltet stockfish that yes is cod but have never been prepared in portugal. Most stockfish is traded from norway to portugal, spain and brazil and have been so for several hundreds of years. No harm though, just wanna share my proud heritage.

    • This is a wonderful traditional dish. Brings back memories of holidays to portugal. You can be certain you will never get the same bacalao twice!

  13. Cesar Noel — 5/8/12 @ 12:17 pm

    Great recipe, Would like to try this out myself

  14. Technology News — 5/14/12 @ 10:29 am

    It seems very delicious after seen the pictures and look of this cocking dish. I like dishes with potatoes and specially this is new addition to that list which i like… Cheers..

  15. Amber Rositter — 5/31/12 @ 9:15 pm

    Cooking is one of my favorite hobby. I love to discover more foods and I have another one now. Thanks.

  16. Linda — 6/1/12 @ 3:40 am

    Looks very tasty. i will try it when there will be nobody at home;)

  17. What a great information. Thanks! I never thought I’l be getting the right info here when I was searching the net for a month now.

  18. sgbangal — 7/19/12 @ 11:20 am

    I like cooking

  19. Abbey Gilmore — 7/19/12 @ 8:59 pm

    Hi thanks for sharing the recipe. It looks very tasty! Can’t wait to try this at home.Hope my mom likes it..

  20. John — 10/4/12 @ 10:14 am

    Thanks for the recipe! For the past few weeks I have been eating the same thing pretty much and now its getting old! I’ll definately have to give this a go. Hopefully it comes out ok and not messed up somehow!

  21. obat hepatitis — 12/21/12 @ 3:39 am

    looks delicious…

  22. Abu Monsur — 1/16/13 @ 6:03 am

    Looking good and delicious ,thank you

  23. Jenny — 4/18/13 @ 10:34 pm

    Wow looks amazing! Making me very hungry just reading and looking at the beautiful pictures. Not a bad meal for just 20 minutes of cooking time!

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  25. afzal — 5/22/13 @ 4:35 am

    ooks very tasty, I’m gonna try this recipe!

  26. Philip — 5/29/13 @ 6:13 pm

    This is a wonderful traditional dish. Brings back memories of holidays to portugal. You can be certain you will never get the same bacalao twice!

  27. Philip — 5/29/13 @ 6:14 pm

    Wonderful dish. You can be certain you wont get the same bacalao twice! Huge variation, very traditional.

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  29. Jolice — 10/5/13 @ 11:38 pm

    Hi, Cacalao salt cod with potatoes rice recipe is great and i love it. thanks

  30. john — 10/9/13 @ 4:55 am

    very nice.

  31. Pete — 11/1/13 @ 7:36 am

    Wow Looks Yummy

  32. Rajib — 11/8/13 @ 1:41 pm

    It’s a very good tips.i am to try this Salt Cod at home

  33. sam — 11/8/13 @ 9:53 pm

    hmm.. I wanna try.

  34. edwin — 11/12/13 @ 7:36 pm

    waw its amazing

  35. jaben — 11/13/13 @ 4:13 am

    love this.. So look good

  36. Robert Stephen — 11/19/13 @ 10:27 pm

    Wow! Awesome items. I like it. I’ll surely try this today. Is there any more items like this one or more tasty than this?? Waiting for your next post.
    Thanks Admin

  37. Russell Ahmed — 11/24/13 @ 10:09 am

    By seeing the picture of recipe I am getting hungry.What a beautiful to look at.
    “Salt Cod (Bacalao) with Potatoes over Rice Recipe” I am sure this recipe awesome

    thanks for sharing with us

  38. I love eating and i like this recipe. Do you think that this will not increase my weight?

  39. Frenchie — 12/9/13 @ 2:53 am

    it is 3am and I’m trying this recipe for the first time for my man’s lunch today.. What a king..

  40. Kesehatan — 12/9/13 @ 3:19 am

    This is a very smart cooking, I enjoy it

  41. Diffusion Tv — 12/11/13 @ 12:47 pm

    waw its amazing

  42. nice recipe, but it will hard to make that for me…

  43. Great recipe i must say. I tried doing this at home and bamm…it was the best thing i ever had ! Thanks for sharing.

  44. santy — 1/3/14 @ 6:13 pm

    amazing.. i like that.. yummy :)

  45. faiqul — 1/4/14 @ 11:13 am

    its looks Delicious

    thanks for the receipt

  46. Wawan — 1/4/14 @ 8:59 pm

    i like cooking, i wanna try

  47. softwikia — 1/15/14 @ 11:24 am


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