Bacalhau Rosalind by Pattie Sue Knapp

Portuguese Bacalau

Bacalhau Rosalind

We remember the iconic little wooden boxes with the salt cod from our childhood. As you all know, any old recipe that calls for salt cod is not as good, the texture and the flavor are not the same, if you use fresh or frozen cod. We have used salt cod that comes in a bag but we have been looking for a source for the traditional boxed salt cod for years.

A few years ago Rosalind, a childhood friend of my sister in law, visited her in Tennessee. My brother got a recipe for traditional Portuguese bacalau from Rosalind. Her mother made it for he and she in turn has made it for her family. The recipe is a list of ingredients (subject to change by what is on hand) and the amounts were simply by rote.

My brother came across some boxed salt cod in the local supermarket. It was one of those short term offers to see if it was worth stocking. Before it was all gone he picked up a box to send to me. I dusted off Rosalinds recipe and did a little research to complete the recipe. I was very pleased with the results. Now, if I just find more boxed salt cod

Preparation: 90 minutes over a day New Family & Friends Life Experience Recipe
Serves 4 to 6 depending on side dishes Pattie Sue Knapp ala Rosalind Giovagnoli
  • 1 pound dried salted cod fish
  • 2 potatoes*
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 onions, slivered
  • 1 large clove garlic, chopped**
  • 5 or 6 pitted black olives, sliced
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes***
  • Fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 or 2 hard cooked eggs
  • 5 or 6 green olives, sliced
  • 1/3 cup parsley chopped
  1. Prepare cod according to package directions, either soak 24 hours changing water every so many hours, or use the freshen method. Wash fish for 15 minutes with running water, place in pan and cover with water, heat slowly, but dont boil, pour off water, repeat this step until fish is no longer salty to taste.
  2. In a medium pan, bring water to a boil, add the cod and bring back to a boil, and gently boil for about 5 minutes. Remove the fish (keeping the fish water) and flake into pieces with a fork or your fingers. Put fish in a bowl.

  3. Stir together in a smaller bowl, 1/2 of the garlic, olive oil, 1 tablespoon of parsley (reserve the rest), red pepper flakes and black pepper. Mix well and pour over the flaked fish, stirring to distribute.

  4. Cook the potatoes in the reserved fish water until fork tender, remove cool slightly. Peel and slice into rounds. Melt butter and saut the onions (I use yellow and red onions for eye appeal. You may use whatever color you choose) and the remaining garlic until nicely browned being careful not to overcook or char.

  5. Grease a 1.5 quart baking dish and place layers using one-half of the ingredients in each layer: potatoes first, then a layer of cod topped with the onions. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Bake in a 350F oven for about 20-30 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Remove from the oven and top with olives and chopped egg and garnish with the remaining parsley. If sodium is an issue, olives should be well rinsed or can be omitted if desired.

    *I use russet potatoes but yellow, red can work as well

    ** I like garlic and use a lot, adjust according to your taste

    *** I also like very spicy and hot food, use pepper flakes according to your personal taste

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