Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A Taste of Portugal

As some of you may already know, I was born on the Island of Sao Miguel, the largest Island in the Portuguese Azores Archipelago. I came to Canada with my parents at sixteen months of age, as my parents were looking for a better life and a good place to work and raise a family.  Six years later, at the age of seven, I became a Canadian Citizen, along with my parents.  I have been back to Sao Miguel and Portugal several times in my life.  Although I feel more Canadian than Portuguese, Sao Miguel holds a special place in my heart.  It is where my roots are, my family, my history, it all began there.  And with that, comes my love for traditional Portuguese food.  At our house, on our table, the influence is always there, in the ingredients, the spices, even the tableware.
Fish is eaten regularly in Portugal and among the most popular is bacalhau (cod fish).  In Portugal, cod is always sold dry and salted. This is how they keep the fish fresh without needing refrigeration. We can find the same dry, salted fish here in many supermarkets. I would like to share with you my recipe for a typical Portuguese dish I made last week, while my Mom was staying with us. 

Bacalhau a Gomes de Sa (serves 4-6)

2 pounds deboned salt-cod (soaked in water for 24-36 hrs prior, making sure to change the water 3-4 times)
8 medium potatoes, peeled, sliced 1/4 inch thick
4 eggs
2 large onions, sliced thinly
3 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 extra virgin olive oil (divided)
black olives, pitted
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
salt to taste

First cook cod in a large pot of boiling water for 8-10 minutes.  Allow to cool and flake into small pieces.  While cod is cooling, you can boil potatoes (1/4 inch thickness) and eggs in a separate pot.

Boil potatoes
 Flaked cod

Once cooked, drain water from the potatoes.  Set aside.  Peel hard-boiled eggs and slice for garnish.  Set aside. 

 Pour 1/4 cup of olive oil into large skillet.  Saute onions and garlic until golden, over medium heat. 

In a large baking dish, brush bottom with olive oil.  Add half of your potatoes, half the cod fish, half the onions, potatoes again, cod again, and top with onions.  Drizzle the leftover half cup of olive oil over the entire dish. ( I also sprinkle a little salt over the potatoes, after each layer)

 Cover baking dish with aluminum foil and bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.  Remove.  Decorate with sliced eggs, black olives, and sprinkle with chopped parsley.
And here you have it, Bacalhau a Gomes de Sa.  I hope you can try my recipe some day and tell me what you think!  Thank you for visiting my kitchen! Have a wonderful day! 


  1. Dearest Rosinda, well as you know, my Dad was born in Mozambique in what was then Portuguese East Africa (although he grew up in South Africa)& has a wonderful portuguese aunt, Helena (in her 90's now)who is originally from Lisbon. His absolute favourite dish is her bacalhau...or my mum's version of it as Helena gave her the recipe. I will show him your blog & pictures to see him drool!Looks absolutely beautiful...I love salt cod too & the Venetian dish, baccala mantecato, which is with garlic & mashed potato & lots of olive oil. So wonderful to take a peek inside your kitchen & get to know you even better. Lots of love xoxo R

  2. Oh wow that really does look fantastic. I wonder if you could use regular frozen cod and cut out the soaking step. Wish you lived next door and were inviting me to dinner--like tomorrow! Keep up the posts--we all love them!

  3. Hello Nancy,

    Thanks for your comment. The flavor of salt cod is very different from fresh cod. I guess you could replace one for the other, but the overall taste would be different. I guess you could if you like, but I know you wouldn't get the same result. Let me know if you ever try it. xo

  4. I'm not a big salt eater but maybe if I see dried cod and it doesn't scare me too much I'll try it. I'm old and dried up enough on my own. Food should be fresh and succulent--like men. Gotta tease you a little.

  5. Hi Rosinda!
    If I ever manage to find salt cod I will definitely make this dish (minus the eggs as I don't like them!)as it looks and sounds fantastic! We have a bountifl supply of fresh cod, but as I can see from your reply to Nancy, it would not produce the same flavour so I will have to wait and see if I can find the authntic salt cod!
    Love Morwenna

  6. Gosh I am sorry for all of the typos in my comment, you can tell I am trying to multitask by reading your blog and working! xoxo

  7. oh yum again, Rosinda! I'm a VERY picky eater, and would definitely eat this :)


  8. This looks really good!! Do you serve it with any other side dishes?

    1. You can serve this meal with a salad if you wish, or just on it's own. :)