Bacalhoada da Vovó (Grandmother’s Codfish Recipe)

Bacalhoada da Vovó (Grandmother’s Codfish Recipe)


There are so many salt dried cod recipes in Brazil, arrived with immigrants from all over the world. This one is my maternal (portuguese) grandmother’s recipe.
It is good practice to reserve apart the cod’s boiled water to cook the potatoes and the others ingredients. The skinned and boned wet cooked salt cod weight is about the same as the dry salt cod weight.

• 500 g salt cod
• parsley, garlic clove and black pepper
• 600 g potatoes
• 250 g sliced sweet red pepper
• 100 g wild cabbage, Kale Black Tuscany or 150 g spinach
• 250 g sliced onion
• 100 g black pitted olives
• 3 hard-boiled eggs
• 150 ml olive oil
• salt and black pepper
For the white sauce:
• 80 g all-purpose flour
• 80 g butter
• 1 litre milk
• salt, black pepper and nutmeg

Preparation method

  1. Soak the salt cod in cold water in covered pan for 24 hours, inside the fridge, changing the water every 6 hours.
  2. Blanch the cod (with parsley, garlic clove and black pepper) over low heat for 10 to 15 minutes after boiling point. Allow it to cool inside the boiling liquid so it do not dry out. Set aside the cooking water.
  3. Cook the peeled potatoes and the wild cabbage (wash and remove the leaves from the stem) into the salt cod cooking water.
    Bring it to the boil and cook until fork tender.
  4. If you use the spinach, sauté them with a drizzle of olive oil until just wilted, in a covered pan.
  5. Sauté the onion and sweet pepper slices with olive oil, season with salt and let them soften without browning.
  6. Separate the cod from it’s skin and any bones.
  7. Slice the boiled potatoes and the hard-boiled eggs.
  8. Grease a baking pyrex or any oven resistant pan with olive oil and place a layer of potatoes on the bottom; cover with layers of cod, sautéed vegetables, hard boiled eggs and pitted olives. Sprinkle with the remaining oil.
  9. Make the white cream sauce: melt the butter, add the flour, mix well and stir fry for 1 minute. Add the hot milk a little at a time, stirring constantly. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Bring it to a boil and cook for 2 minutes, until thickened.
  10. Cover with the white cream sauce and bake it in a hot oven for about 20 minutes, until golden brown.
  11. Serve with white rice.

Yield: 6 portions.

Posted on: 12 May 2012