How to make Bacalhau

Cod is something of a national institution in Portugal, and with thousands of variations on Balcalhau, this salted cod favourite is popular around the dinner table during feasts and celebrations.

You'll need to prepare the cod fish two days before, simply soak in a bowl of water and change the water up to three times a day. The finished weight after soaking and drying should be around 1lb.



  • 1 1⁄2 lbs salt cod fish, pre-soaked in water and dried 
  • 4 -6 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 4 -6 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1⁄2 cup olive oil, high grade
  • 1 tbsp sweet paprika
  • 1⁄4 tsp salt
  • 1⁄2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 yellow pepper, sliced
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 1 large onion, peeled, halved and sliced
  • 1⁄2 cup white wine or 1⁄2 cup dry vermouth
  • 20 Portuguese black olives


  1. Preheat oven to 190°C.
  2. Place potatoes in a large pot of water bring to the boil. Cook for 5 minutes then place on towels to air dry.
  3. Drizzle 1⁄4 cup of the olive oil in a large heavy bottom pan. 
  4. Sauté the garlic for 30 seconds and stir into the potatoes, then repeat with the sliced onions and peppers.
  5. Mix the salt, pepper, parsley and paprika together.
  6. Season the vegetables with ¾ of the mix.
  7. Season the cod with the remaining spice mix.
  8. Nestle the cod in between the vegetable mix.
  9. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil and add the white wine or vermouth.
  10.  Place in the oven and cook for 30 minutes or until cooked through.
  11.  Toss the mixture every once or twice so that all flavours get incorporated.
  12.  Raise oven to 210°C
  13.  Toss the mixture, and top with olives baking for an additional 10 minutes.
  14.  Serve immediately and enjoy!