Portuguese Food : Bacalhau Confit Recipe

Portuguese food is a rich and diverse cuisine : ressembling mediterranean neighbours on some points, it is particularly famous for its seafood. The country has Europe’s highest fish consumption per capita and is particularly fan of the Bacalhau, a cod fish that was salted and dried to allow a yearly consumption. It is said that Portuguese have at least 365 different recipes to cook this fish, one for each day. Portuguese food also includes a wide use of spices due to its colonial past (such as chili, saffron or vanilla), as well as fresh herbs, garlic and of course homemade olive oil. For the last 20 years the quality of the wine produced in Portugal has notably improved, making it one of the best wine region of the planet.

In this recipe we present you one way of cooking Bacalhau in Portugal : slowly cooked in olive oil, the fish unfolds a incredible taste and consistency. Seasoned with fresh herbs, garlic and accompanied by some Portuguese red wine such as Douro, it’s a dish to die for!

Ingredients for the chickpea puree

  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 garlic clove, thinely minced
  • 850 gr cooked chickpeas
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 tbsp cumin powder
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • salt to taste

Ingredients for the confit bacalhau

  • 900 gr Bacalhau filet (or salt codfish) with salt removed
  • 1 tbsp sweet paprika powder
  • 1 garlic bulb
  • 1/2 L good olive oil

Ingredients for the decoration

  • the white part of 1 small leak
  • oil
  • fresh minced coriander

Preheat your oven to 80C (you’ll need a quite recent oven for that recipe).

Portuguese food bacalhau confit

Meanwhile take your filet of bacalhau and cut it into thick pieces of approx 10 cm lenght, 5cm wide. Place them in a deep oven pan with skin facing downwards and spice with paprika powder. Cut your garlic head crosswise and add the two halves in the pan. Then pour your olive oil : it should entirely recover your fish. For this reason, the oven pan should not be too big otherwise you’ll need a looot of olive oil : the fish must avoid any contact with air during the cooking. Cover your plate with aluminium foil, and put it in an oven preheated to 80C for 60 mn.

Portuguese food bacalhau confit

This way of cooking slow, low and in olive oil will confere an incredible tenderness to your fish. It’s so soft, you can even eat it with a spoon!

For the chickpea puree, sautee minced onions and garlic with a generous amount of olive oile.
Add your cooked chickpeas (you can either use a can or dry chickpeas that you cooked yourself before). Mix well and add a cup of water.
Then add your spices : cumin or curry. You can add a little bit more or a little bit less, according to your tastes. Boil on low heat for 20 minutes. To finish, mash your chickpea puree with a hand mixer. Season with a bit of salt to taste.

Portuguese food bacalhau confit


For the fried leak, take a small clean leak, and thinly minced the white. Deep fry it in a high pan with olive oil for just a few minutes until golden brown. Don’t let it burn, take it out and leave it to rest on kitchen paper.

For the presentation, put a big spoon of chickpea puree in your plate, then delicately add the fish on top, decorate with fried leaks and fresh coriander.

Portuguese food bacalhau confit

Bon appetit! (pronounce with portuguese accent)

Thanks a lot to Insider-Cooking-Portugal for sharing with us the beauty of its Food Culture

If you’re interested by Portuguese food and you want to try out more at home, check the wonderful book A Cozinha Portuguesa gathering easy, well explained and incredibly tasty recipes from the Portuguese Food Culture.

Last but not least a very special thanks also to Alexandra Klobouk who illustrated the recipe book, for initiating this whole partnership!

You want to see more about Portuguese Cuisine? Check our 10 Things to Eat in Portugal!

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>