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.

There are different types of Bacalhau and different qualities. The high grades tend to be more expensiver 


Serves 4

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

Black olives

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,


Put in a large bowl or container and cover 3 times their volume with cold water, cover and place in the fridge for 24- 48 hours depend on the size of 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.


Shred it into pieces, carefully remove the skin and picking out all the bones. 

I bought mine boneless without skin. But still you have to go through the process to avoid any hidden fish bones.

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.


In a reasonable sized pan over medium heat. Heat the olive oil.


Add the Cut onion strips, add the garlic. Fry until translucent for 5 minutes.

Add the flaked cod and gently heat through for 2 minutes

Then add the potatoes chips. Heat everything through for 2 minutes but do not burn, just enough until everything is heated softly.


Lower the heat add the beaten eggs to the mixture,

 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.


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