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Portuguese Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá

In 2019, I embarked upon an adventure of a lifetime: the Camino de Santiago, a 150-mile walk, that took me up the coast of Portugal into Spain. Armed with my backpack and (what turned out to be terrible) walking shoes, my friend, Debbie, and I walked over cobblestones, boardwalks, dirt trails, tree-lined fairy forests and alongside semi trucks rushing down the highway for 10 days. It was a truly magical experience that provided me with ample time to reflect, think about who I was and what I wanted to accomplish in this big, beautiful world.

Along the way, we enjoyed some of the best food I have ever had the pleasure of tasting. We ate seafood for nearly every meal, and the Portuguese certainly know what they’re doing in terms of cooking amazing fish. Bacalhau, or salted cod, is a very popular dish in Portugal and you can find it at nearly every restaurant near the coast. There are literally thousands of ways it can be prepared, and I haven’t yet met a bacalhau I don’t like.

One of my favorite ways to prepare bacalhau is in this style, enveloped in potatoes, onions, garlic, and olive oil, and covered in salty olives and hard boiled eggs. While salted cod is traditionally used, my recipe calls for plain-old cod because it’s not easy to find salted cod in my neck of the woods. I hope you enjoy this comforting dish as much as I do.

Ingredients:

2 lbs. cod
2 lbs. potatoes
3 yellow onions, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil
4-5 hard boiled eggs
15-20 Kalamata olives
1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
Salt/pepper

Preheat oven to 375.

Peel potatoes and boil for 25 minutes or until soft. Cook onions with olive oil over medium high heat for 5-7 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.

Drain potatoes and let them cool. Cut potatoes 1/2 inch thick and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Evenly pour 1/4 cup of olive oil into the bottom of casserole dish. Add a layer of sliced potatoes, followed by a layer of cod pieces, onions and garlic. Repeat layering, ensuring a layer of potatoes ends up on the top. Pour the remaining quarter cup of olive oil on top evenly. Bake for 40 minutes.

Take out of the oven, place the halved hard-boiled eggs and olives on top. Bake for 10 more minutes. Allow the dish to cool for two minutes. Sprinkle generously with fresh parsley and enjoy!

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