Bacalhau a bras is made from shreds of salted cod (bacalhau). A common dish in Portugal. Bacalhau is considered the iconic ingredient of Portuguese cuisine. There are said to be over 1000 recipes in Portugal alone. Salted cod has been produced for at least 500 years, since the time of the European discoveries of the New World. The processing method came to Norway in around 1640. The salted fish was dried on rocks. Before refrigeration, there was a need to preserve the cod, drying and salting are ancient techniques to preserve nutrients and the process makes the cod tastier.The origin of the recipe is uncertain, but it is said to have originated in Bairro Alto, an old quarter of Lisbon. Using simple ingredients, Shreds of salted cod fish, onions and thinly chopped matchstick sizes fried potatoes in a bound of scrambled eggs. Then garnished with black olives and sprinkled with fresh parsley.
400g salted cod fillet pieces
300g potatoes or (use short cut) below
Oil for deep frying the potatoes
150g onions diced strips
3 garlic cloves crushed
40g extra virgin olive oil for the onion
4-5 eggs beaten
2 bay leaves
Parsley for garnish
Fresh black pepper
Method preparing the bacalhau
This is the most important and time consuming process and needs patents. You can substitute salted cod for fresh cod and skip the soaking process, but the thing is, fresh cod has a light mild taste, not as powerful taste that you get from the dried, salted counterpart.
Wash off any excess salt from the cod pieces,
The best way to do it is to separate the thinner pieces from the thicker ones and soak separately, as thicker pieces needs soaking up to 48 house. Changing the water at least 4 times for the thinner pieces and more for the thicker ones. Do not over soak or you end with a mushy cod fish. If in doubt pick a little bit flesh from the centre to taste how salty it is.
In a reasonable pot with fresh water boil the cod fish with the bay leave for 10 minutes and remove to cool for 15 minutes before shredding.
Preparing the potatoes matchstick (chips)
Peel and cut potatoes into matchstick thin strips. Then fry the matchsticks in a deep pan of oil until golden. A short cut buy a bag of potato chips, the matchstick kind. The Portuguese do it this way most of the time unless they are being traditional.
which will result in a creamy, soft bacalhau a bras.
Careful to not overcook or your dish will be dry, you want to get it to a creamy but not completely set, scrambled egg or omelettes type constituency.
Transfer the bacalhau a bras to a serving dish, sprinkle fresh black pepper, garnish with chopped parsley and some black olives to decorate and for taste. Enjoy
Goes well served with green salad with lemon dressing.