Gastronomy varies widely across the country, but codfish is a constant. When travelling around Portugal you'll find at leat one version of bacalhau in every single menu and we must tell you they're all delicious.
But why do you eat dry salted cod when you have so much fresh fish, you might ask. Well, it's a tradition and we love it like that.
Portugal has a very long history when it comes to fishing and during the Discoveries overseas the Portuguese learnt that dry salted cod kept its properties and resisted to the long journeys, turning into a tasty and reliable food source. It started to be consumed by the lower class, but soon its reputation grew and it became a reference in the Portuguese gastronomy. After soaking it in water to loose the excess salt, it can be cooked in countless different ways and in this post there are 12 for you to choose from.
Pastéis de Bacalhau
They're basically fried fish cakes made with a batter of shredded cod, mashed potatoes, eggs, chopped onions and parsley. They're frequently served as an appetiser.
Punheta de Bacalhau
This is an easy and fresh recipe, perfect for a hot summer day! It's made with shredded cod, finely shopped onion, a bit of garlic, a drop of vinegar, fresh parsley and a very generous amount of olive oil. It can be eaten just like that or with some toasted bread on the side.
Bacalhau à Brás
Another quick recipe made with shredded cod. This time it's cooked on a pan with chopped onions, garlic, crispy shoestring potatoes and then whisked eggs. To serve, sprinkle some parsley and black olives on the top.
Bacalhau à Braga
Also known as bacalhau à minhota or bacalhau à Narcisa, this recipe is typical from the Minho region and it's a bit more time consuming. This time the cod steak is cooked on a frying pan and served with a peperonata on top and sliced fried potatoes on the side.
Açorda de Bacalhau
Açorda is a typical dish from Alentejo made with stale bread, onions, garlic, tomato and coriander, all cooked in a pan. First the ingredients are sautéed and then you have to add the broth which turns it into a rich soup. It is traditionally a humble dish but cod elevates it and, for extra flavour, you can also add an egg and some fresh coriander to the mix.
Pataniscas de Bacalhau
Similar to pastéis de bacalhau, pataniscas look like tempura fish cakes and they're made with shredded cod, flour, milk, eggs, white wine, onion and garlic. When the mix is ready, you just have to scoop it and pour it into a sizzling flying pan until golden and crisp! They're frequently served with tomato rice on the side.
Bacalhau assado na Brasa
The trick is finding great quality cod. Then you just have to grab a big steak, pop it on a charcoal grill and let the heat do the work. To serve drizzle it with a good amount of olive oil and serve it with roasted potatoes and some greens on the side. This is a great dish for an alfresco meal!
Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá
Once again the base is made of shredded cod and boiled potatoes, but this time it's served with boiled eggs, black olives and parsley. It can be eaten hot, but is also tastes divine as a cold salad.
It translates to "old clothes" and that's because this dish was created with the leftovers from Christmas Eve, where the tradition is obviously having cod as a main. It's made with boiled veggies and, of course, olive oil.
Bacalhau com natas
The French have a good palate and they'd agree cod with cream is a match made in heaven. After all, what doesn't taste good with some milk and butter? This dish is prepared with potatoes and shredded cod in the oven and it has a delicious creamy texture.
Bacalhau com broa
We're big fans of this one. Picture a big chunk of cod drenched in olive oil and cooked in the oven over a bed of onions and garlic and with breadcrumbs on the top. It's a perfect dish for a lazy winter day.
Arroz de Bacalhau
It wouldn't be possible to finish a list without a rice dish. Arroz de bacalhau is prepared just like a fish stew, with tomatos, onions, garlic, rice and broth. Great for a meal by the sea alongside a glass of white wine.
To find out why Portuguese are foodies, hit the link below. Cod it?