Salted cod with eggs or bacalhau a bras in Portuguese is a beloved dish. Honestly, it is said there are over 1000 recipes for salted cod in Portugal. This particular recipe of salted cod with eggs was mentioned to me on numerous occasions while I visited there as the most loved dish. I got this recipe from our guide Lidia, in Sintra. We had such a great time together, I highly recommend her to anyone visiting Sintra and wants a great guide with an immense knowledge about the history of the area. You can find the company she works for here. Be sure to ask for Lidia!
Salted cod or sometimes called just salt cod has been a staple in Portuguese cuisine for centuries, some 500 years. It was a means of preservation prior to refrigeration. The cod is first salted and then dried. The process of this ancient technique, makes the cod tastier. To cook it you must first soak the cod in water and rinse out the salt. Bacalhau was a cheap source of protein and therefore used often in the cuisine. Over time this has changed and although it is still beloved, it is no longer cheap. Bacalhau was nicknamed fiel amigo meaning loyal friend due to its high consumption.
It also gained popularity not only in Portugal but other Roman Catholic countries as well because the church forbade eating meat on many days so bacalhau was the chosen fish to consume on the non-meat days.
I found my salted cod on Amazon and here is a link if you would like to buy some. They come in cute little wooden boxes. Make sure to get it deboned.
This recipe was an absolute delight, it has of course the bacalhau but also eggs, onion, olives and my favorite part was the addition of fried potatoes. This salted cod with eggs recipe is truly a comfort food and once you try it, you will totally understand why this dish is one of the salted cod favorites in all of Portugal.
If you love this salted cod with eggs recipe be sure to check the other authentic recipes we enjoyed as part of our International Cuisine meal. You can get the recipes plus learn more about this fascinating country by checking out “Our Journey to Portugal”.
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Salted Cod with Eggs (Bacalhau a Bras)
- 1 pound salted dried cod boneless, if you can find it
- 1 1/4 cups olive oil divided
- 1 large potato cut into small matchsticks
- 1 cup thinly sliced onion about 1/2 medium onion
- 8 eggs 4 whole, 4 just yolks
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- 4 cloves garlic chopped
- 12 black olives
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Place the dried salt cod in a bowl of cold water overnight. Empty and refill with new water at least twice during this soaking time. The next day, drain out the water for the last time. (Make sure to remove the skin and bones from the cod if you couldn’t find it boneless)
- Add about 1 cup of oil into a deep pot or fryer and warm it over medium-high to high heat. Fry the potatoes in the hot oil until golden and crispy, about 7 to 10 minutes. Once the potatoes are fried, remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and place them on a paper towel to drain the excess oil.
- Add 1/4 cup oil to a skillet. Add the thinly sliced onion, chopped garlic and bay leaf and sauté together until golden, about 7 minutes. Add the shredded cod in with the onions and garlic and cook for several minutes until the fish absorbs the oil. Add the cooked potatoes and mix together.
- Next, lightly whisk the eggs, salt, and pepper together in a bowl. Add the eggs to the fish and potatoes and cook on very low heat until the eggs are soft, about 3 minutes. It’s important to remove the skillet from the heat before the eggs actually solidify you do not want scrambled eggs.
- Serve hot and garnish with olives and parsley.