It’s not often a country’s most iconic ingredient is not native to the area; however, that is exactly the case with bacalhau, or dried and salted cod, one of the most popular ingredients in Portuguese cuisine. While the old adage goes, “There are 365 ways to prepare bacalhau in Portugal, one for every day of the year,” in actuality, there are said to be 1,001 recipes including bacalhau in the country.
Typically produced in Norway, Iceland and Newfoundland, bacalhau was first discovered 500 years ago. Due to a lack of refrigeration, the Portuguese people tried salting and preserving the many varieties of fish found off its Atlantic coast. Eventually, they discovered the ideal fish for this process off the coast of Newfoundland and began fishing its waters. Soon, it was pervasive in Portuguese cooking, an everyday staple in many households. It became especially popular in the predominantly Roman Catholic country because it could be enjoyed on the many days per year the Church forbade eating meat. Today, due to overfishing, among other reasons, bacalhau is more expensive. It is now served mostly on special occasions and, in some parts of the country, is the traditional Christmas dinner.
Before preparing any of Portugal’s popular bacalhau dishes, the soaking process is fundamental. In a large pot of cold, clean water, soak the fish for at least 24 hours, changing the water several times. The salted cod must then be boiled; to flavor, vinegar, carrots, celery, onions, parsley, peppercorns and such can be added before boiling for 15 minutes. Once skinned and de-boned, the bacalhau is ready to transform.
From here, bacalhau can be broiled, fried, stewed, grilled, roasted — you name it — and is traditionally served with potatoes. Among the most common, and tasty, transformations are bacalhau com todos, served boiled with vegetables, hard-boiled egg, olive oil and garlic; bacalhau à Brás, prepared fried rice-style with potatoes, onion, scrambled eggs and olives; and bacalhau à Gomes de Sá, similar to the à Brás preparation, but the fish is soaked first in milk, then roasted and served with hard-boiled egg. Also frequently seen are bolinhos de bacalhau, fried balls of bacalhau and potatoes. Oven-baked varieties include à ze do pipo, when milk-soaked cod is baked with onion, mashed potatoes and mayonnaise and garnished with olives; and bacalhau com natas, like a potato gratin with cream and béchamel.
Whichever way you prefer your bacalhau, there’s no denying the many ways this non-native ingredient has come to characterize Portuguese cuisine.
Read This Next
Grand Hyatt Hong Kong
2014Jan 1, 2015
All Reads on This Topic
Read Them All
FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.
Play in the Sand at North Myrtle Beach
Just north of the city of Myrtle Beach in coastal South Carolina, North Myrtle Beach has grown from a tranquil farming region into a prized leisure destination. Way back in 1737, landowner William Gause built a tavern that became a welcome stop for vacationers and others traveling along Kings Highway, a route stretching from Boston to Charleston. Today, this sunny, friendly beach town is a popular endpoint all on its own.
What Business Travel Looks Like Now From Those Who Know It Best
Pack your bags, traveling for business is making a comeback — and the role of the corporate travel manager is more important than ever.
April/May 2023May 30, 2023
Embrace the Power to Make Environmental Change as you Travel
News of climate change and its impact on the Earth and our environment has been harsh, to say the least. In fact, the American Psychological Association defines the term “eco-anxiety” as “a chronic fear of environmental doom.”
Sample the Cuisine of Distinguished Chefs at Cayo Levantado Resort’s 5-Star Dining
Cayo Levantado Resort recently announced a selection of dining options available to guests upon opening June 1. With an emphasis on rich cultural traditions and fresh local ingredients, the resort teamed up with a distinguished team of experts to offer a variety of gastronomic possibilities. The resort’s restaurant invites travelers to sample world-class cuisine crafted with the soul of the Caribbean. Keep reading to see how each restaurant brings its own flare to the dining experience.
Plan Your Escape to Arizona
Indulgent escapes are made even more enjoyable by fast, easy access — and that’s what Arizona offers. Quick, non-stop and direct flights to one of two international airports put all the luxury of The Grand Canyon State within easy reach.
Rocco Forte Hotels Raises the Bar for Summer 2023 Travel
Rocco Forte Hotels offers travelers new experiences and amenities for summer 2023.
A Makeover is Coming to the Magnificent Mile
DailyMay 26, 2023
Take Part in These Sustainable Travel Experiences with Explore Worldwide
Taking care of the planet is a growing priority with travelers wanting to ensure there’s a healthy world to even explore. Global travel adventure company Explore Worldwide (a Hotelplan travel group brand) recently formed a climate timely partnership with Klimate and Rewilding Britain, affirming its dedication to both rewilding efforts and carbon removal within the travel industry.
Europe is more fun with a Portugal Stopover.
April/May 2023May 26, 2023
Expansive Designs and Overhauls Take Airports to the Next Level
Recently, the Federal Aviation Administration announced the availability of $1 billion for airport expansion projects in 2023, awarding grants to some U.S. airports to make improvements to terminals.