If you’ve been to Portugal it’s more than likely you’ve come across the name Bacalhau à Brás on the menu of lots of snack-bars or restaurants. It’s a popular dish and is one of the most common ways of preparing bacalhau. In case you are wondering, the name Brás actually refers to its creator, a tavern owner in the Bairro Alto, Lisbon. The name Brás has since become a technique which can be used to cook different types of fish, and even vegetables. It consists of a base of onions, garlic and potatoes, glued together with creamy scrambled eggs.
For our recipe we use lascas de bacalhau, which we soaked overnight to remove excessive salt. You’ll need to soak them for at minimum 4 hours, so you’ll need to do a little bit of preparation before beginning this recipe. Or if available, you can buy pre-soaked and washed bacalhau. The shoestring potatoes are homemade in the oven, but if you prefer you can deep fry them, use an air-fryer, or even cook them in a frying pan. We prefer to use an oven, although it takes longer to cook, it’s less messy and there’s less oil to worry about. However, if you are looking for an even more practical alternative, and if you are in Portugal, they are available in every supermarket too.
Bacalhau à Brás Recipe
This is light and delicious meal, and pretty simple to cook. It’s a great option for those dipping their toes into Portuguese Cuisine, or for trying bacalhau.
Ingredients (2 large portions, 3 smaller)
- 500g potatoes
- 400g salted codfish – soaked overnight
- 1 large onion – thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves
- 5 tbsp olive oil
- 1 bay leaf
- 5 eggs
- Salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 230°C. Peel the potatoes, cut them into thin slices, and then into sticks. It is important that the sticks are evenly sized, so they cook evenly. Thoroughly rinse the sticks, drain and pat them dry using an absorbent paper or cloth. Transfer them to a bowl, and drizzle with around 3tbsp of olive oil.
- Grease an oven tray with olive oil, place the sticks (making sure they don’t overlap). Cook them in batches until golden, flipping halfway through.
- Place a saucepan over high heat, add the cod and cover it in boiling water. Cook for 8 minutes. Drain it, but keep one cup of the water to one side.
- Place a large frying pan over medium heat, fry the onion in 2tbsp of olive oil unti translucent, around 6 minutes or so. Add the garlic and bay leaf and cook for another 3 minutes.
- Meanwhile, using your hands, shred the cod removing any bones or skin. Add it to the onion, and let it cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- In a small bowl, give the eggs a short whisk, and add them to the fish mixture. Cook it over a low heat stirring constantly. The eggs should be cooked but still soft and juicy. Stir in the potatoes, season it with black pepper, and salt – if needed.
- Serve garnished with olives and chopped parsley.
This is one of our favourite recipes using bacalhau, but if you’re looking for some others take a look at our recipe for bacalhau com natas. It’s a creamy and delicious oven baked dish that might be the most comforting meal in Portugal!