Cod fish: One of Portugal’s most treasured dishes

Bacalhau! This is the Portuguese word for cod fish and you’ll find it everywhere you go. It’s simple, yet rich in variations and cooking styles. Truth is, the Portuguese are obsessed with it. So, let’s find some important facts about this delicious fish.

For the Portuguese, cod fish is typically dried and salted. You’ll not find it amongst the fresh fish, but stacked nearby in piles. (Pass by our Dundas location where we faithfully have cod in piles, the Portuguese way or check them online). Bacalhau has been an integral part of Portuguese cuisine since the 16th century, when Portuguese fishermen first brought it back from Newfoundland.

Another interesting fact: there are a variety of Portuguese bacalhau dishes. You can have it baked, barbecued, canned, with potatoes, with rice, on potato salads, and more. There are over 365 ways of preparing bacalhau, and some say over 1,000 ways of serving it. It’s also one of the most important parts of a Portuguese Christmas dinner. 

Some authentic ways to eat cod fish:

  1. Bacalhau Cozido – boiled cod with potatoes and/or chickpeas – and hard boiled eggs. This is the typical dish served in many regions of Portugal on Christmas Eve as well, even though some regions add some collards or cabbage to the dish. It’s simple, very delicious and eaten on average once a week. It’s also know as Bacalhau com todos or Bacalhau de Consoada (Christmas eve).
  2. Bacalhau à Brás – one of Portugal’s most popular dishes due to its unique flavours. A combination of cod fish pieces mixed together with fries, eggs, onions, olives, chopped parsley and garlic.
  3. Bacalhau com natas – there are several variations of this salted Portuguese cod fish with cream dish. This one is an oven-baked dish consisting of layers of bacalhau, onion, diced fried potato and cream.
  4. Pastéis de bacalhau – the famous cod fish balls. These delicious salted cod cakes are made with mashed potatoes, codfish, eggs, parsley and onion. Shaped with two spoons, they are deep fried before being served hot as an appetizer. You can also find them as a main dish served with rice, salad and olives.

We’ll leave you with these for now. Here’s a little suggestion: get some bacalhau and try some of these delicious recipes.

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