Bacalhau salad (cod)


Piece of life

Bacalhau is simply the word for cod in portuguese. My mother always used to prepare that fish as a salad. Did you know that cod can be find either as fresh either as dried and salted? Drying food is an antique method to preserve food and it has been used for either fish or meat.

This recipe is part of my family classics. I grew up with it and I keep the tradition by preparing it myself now. It is also part of my husband’s childhood memories. Even if the ingredients are slightly different, my mother in law was doing a similar dish. Brazil being a former Portuguese colony, it is not so surprising [cod being one of Portugal’s culinary main traditions]. Even though, it always fascinates me to discover dishes we have in common from our two countries.

About the bacalhau salad

This dish is easy to prepare. Your biggest challenge will be to remove the salt properly and to cook the cod.

You will find several version of this dish. I share with you my family recipe, hoping it will create new childhood memories somewhere. My version contains only potatoes, shallots and capers, and a lot of olive oil [that’s how it should be]. I love capers, especially combined with fish. They give an acid taste to the dish that I rave about.

Regarding the potatoes: choose a variety that will hold itself after cooking. I particularly like the yellow flesh ones [like Yukon gold] for this recipe, but choose what you prefer.

How to remove the salt?

To remove the salt properly, you will have to start to prepare the fish about 2 days before you will eat it. The cod must be soaked in a large amount of cold water and rinsed several time. I suggest you start by removing the salt under running water. Once done, place the cod in a large bowl and cover it with cold water. Reserve in the fridge, and change the water regularly [at least twice a day] until cooking.

How to cook the fish?

Fill a large pan with water and bring it to a broil. Place you fish inside and let it cook until you can easily cut the fish into pieces. The duration can greatly vary depending on the thickness of the fish. It usually takes me about 10 min to get it cook properly.

Just mix all the ingredients, and you are done. Fairly easy, right?!


Bacalhau salad

Bacalhau salad: inspired by portuguese gastronomy, this dish is one of my family classics. It is as simple as it tasty!
Course: Fish, Salad
Keyword: Easy, Healthy, Vegetarian
Portions 8 people
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Temps de repos: 2 days
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Print Recipe



  • 1 kg dried and salted cod
  • 1,5 kg potatoes
  • 2 to 3 shallots
  • 4 tbsp capers (or more according to taste)
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 tbsp vinegar (I use apple cider vinegar)
  • parsley chopped
  • pepper to taste


Desalted the cod

  • Ideally, start two days and at least 24 hours before to cook.
  • Run the cod under cold water to remove the excess of salt.
  • Place it in a large bowl and cover with cold water.
  • Place in the refrigerator and change the water regularly, at least every 4 to 6 hours, until cooking.

Cook the cod

  • Fill a pan with water and bring to a boil. Add the fish and let it cook for about 10 minutes. Adjust the time depending on the thickness of your fish. It is ready when you can cut the flesh easily.
  • Simultaneously, cook the potatoes as you usually do. You want the potatoes to hold.

Prepare the salad

  • Cut the potatoes into pieces, pulled the cod and chop the shallots.
  • Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl.
  • Add the olive oil, some parsley and pepper to your taste.

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