Bacalhau à Brás is a Portuguese dish consisting of salted cod, straw potatoes and eggs that are seasoned and stir-fried together to create a creamy meal. It is often garnished with olives and parsley for that signature Mediterranean flair.
While this dish can take some planning in advance (a must when using salted cod), Bacalhau à Brás is among one of the most famous salted cod dishes in Portuguese cuisine. The saltiness of the cod is tempered by the savory potatoes, bound together by the half-cooked eggs that are the secret to perfecting this dish.
Make sure to properly prepare your salted cod by soaking it in water and refrigerating the fish in advance. The secret to creating a deliciously creamy dish is to divide the recipe’s eggs in half. Using the first half during the cooking process ensures that the ingredients will combine and bind together well.Immediately after removing the Bacalhau à Brás from the heat, add the rest of the eggs and let the heat held by the potatoes and fish cook through the remaining egg. This ensures the eggs are not overcooked and the dish maintains its moisture.
Origin & Cultural Significance
It is believed that Bacalhau à Brás originated in the Portuguese city of Lisbon, created by and named after the tavern owner who invented it. The “bacalhau” of the dish’s title means salted cod in Portuguese, while Brás may be the name of its creator.
Now, à Brás recipes have spread throughout Portugal and Spain, incorporating a variety of ingredients and becoming associated with the stir-fry-like style of cooking that is the shared characteristic of the dishes.
- Desalted codfish - 1 lb.
- Straw potato - 1 lb.
- Eggs - 8
- Onion, sliced - 1 ½
- Garlic cloves - 6
- Bay leaf - 1
- Black olives - to taste
- Olive oil - 6 tbsp
- Parsley - chopped
- Salt - to taste
- Black pepper - to taste
- Prepare your salted cod ahead of time by soaking it in water and cooking. Once the salted cod is ready, flake the fish and discard any bones.
- Prepare your straw potatoes. On medium-high heat, heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet. Saute the potatoes until crispy and golden. When the potatoes are done, set them aside on a paper towel to let the oil drain. Cooking the straw potatoes will need to be done in patches and each one should take 5-6 minutes.
- Once all potatoes are prepared, set aside and add another tablespoon of oil to the skillet. Saute the bay leaf, onion, and 3 cloves of minced garlic. Cook until aromatic and translucent, from 5-10 minutes.
- Add the shredded cod and straw potatoes, mixing well. Set the heat to low and continue to cook for 5 minutes.
- In two separate bowls, whisk the eggs in batches of 4 and 4. Add salt and pepper to taste, making sure to whisk well.
- Add one bowl to the skillet while the heat is still on, mixing well and raising heat to medium for 3-4 more minutes. Stir in most of the parsley, leaving some for later garnish.
- Once the eggs have set, take the skillet off the heat and mix in the other whisked egg mixture. Stir well, allowing the heat to cook the eggs, and garnish with the remainder of the parsley and olives. Serve and enjoy!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 302Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 248mgSodium: 206mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 11g