The perfect Bacalhau à Bras James Keane | Posted: 29 July 2015
Self-guided walking holidays in Portugal
Self-guided walking holidays in Portugal
Self-guided walking holidays in Portugal

Having spent a few years living in Portugal before joining Inntravel, I am rather fond of a fish dish called Bacalhau à Brás. Its origins are quite interesting and it's easy to prepare.

It all starts in the far north of Europe, way beyond the Arctic Circle, when the fishing fleets of the Lofoten Islands, having braved the stormy seas of the North Sea in search of Atlantic Cod, sail back to port to land their catch.

The cod is cleaned, beheaded (the heads are exported to West Africa where the cheeks are a prized delicacy), salted for preservation and hung out to dry in the sun and wind on long wooden racks which can be found all across the islands. After a suitable time, the dried cod – or stockfish – is sent south…

This process has been going on for hundreds of years as the resulting dried fish lasts for many months. It soon became very popular in the Catholic countries of the Mediterranean, in particular, which require fish to be eaten on Fridays – hence the number of dishes that have been created using this dried white fish.

Before it can be eaten, however, the salted cod must be rehydrated and desalinated by soaking it in cold water for one to three days, changing the water two to three times a day. Once this has taken place, you are ready to prepare your Bacalhau à Brás:

Ingredients (makes 4 to 6 servings)

1 lb (450g) dried salt cod
7 tbsp olive oil, divided
1½ lb (680g) russet potatoes, peeled, cut into matchstick-size strips
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 bay leaf
8 large eggs
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
4 tbsp chopped fresh parsley, divided
18 oil-cured black olives

Related Holidays

The Coast of Many Colours

Sample more delicious Portuguese dishes while exploring the quiet side of the Algarve, walking from the south coast, through the rolling hills of the interior where traditional villages sit amid colourful flower-filled meadows, before reaching the dramatic Atlantic coast.

More about our walking holidays
in Portugal >


1) Drain the fish and place in a large saucepan.

2) Cover with water, bring to the boil, and simmer until the fish flakes easily (about 15 mins).

3) Drain and cool. Flake the fish, discarding any bones.

4) Heat 4 tbsp of the oil in a heavy, large non-stick pan over medium-high heat.

5) Add the potatoes in batches and sauté until crisp and golden (about 7 mins per batch).

6) Transfer the potatoes to paper towels to drain.

7) Add 1 tbsp of the oil to the same pan.

8) Add the onion and bay leaf and sauté until golden (about 15 mins).

9) Discard the bay leaf. Reduce the heat to low.

10) Add the remaining 2 tbsp oil to the onion slices in the pan.

11) Mix in the fish and potatoes.

12) Whisk the eggs, salt and pepper in a large bowl to blend.

13) Add the egg mixture and 3 tbsp of the parsley to the fish mixture in the pan.

14) Cook over medium heat until the eggs are softly set, stirring occasionally (about 3 mins).

15) Transfer the eggs to a plate and garnish with the olives and the remaining 1 tbsp of parsley.

And finally…

Gather your friends or family around a table in the sunshine and enjoy your Bacalhau à Brás accompanied by a glass or two of chilled vinho verde… Simply delicious!

Blog post currently doesn't have any comments.
Leave comment

 Security code