Bacalhau á Gomes de Sá Recipe -Portuguese Salt Cod and Potato Casserole

The recipe we share today is one of the most popular ways to prepare salt codfish in Portugal: Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá. For those who are not familiar with the name, Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá is a potato and salted cod casserole. The key ingredients of this recipe are potatoes, codfish, onion, eggs, and of course, plenty of olive oil which together creates an explosion of flavours and textures. No wonder this ingredient combination is the same used in several other bacalhau based dishes like Bacalhau à Brás and Pastéis de Bacalhau.  

Like many traditional Portuguese recipes, Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá was named after its creator, José Luís Gomes de Sá Junior. Gomes de Sá was a codfish merchant in Porto who was apparently very passionate for both cooking and sharing his food with close friends. Having mastered Codfish cakes, he decided to use the same ingredients to develop a different recipe, what resulted in Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá. He would later sell his successful recipe to a friend and cook in a restaurant called Lisbonense.

The letter containing the recipe was famously accompanied by explicit instructions: the dish should be served while extremely hot and that any modifications to the recipe would ruin it. Although we don’t have Gomes de Sá secret recipe, we can guarantee you this adaptation will be very successful among friends and family, and most importantly, it won’t disrespect Gomes de Sá’s memory.

Bacalhau á Gomes de Sá Recipe

Like with nearly all bacalhau recipes, it’s important to soak the bacalhau for some time before using it – usually at least for 6 hours but longer depending on the size of the bacalhau you’re using . Unless you’ve bought pre-washed and re-hydrated bacalhau specifically. Olive oil is one of the key ingredients here, so buying a great one is very important. It’s easy in Portugal, but maybe less so where you are making this!

Bacalhau á Gomes de Sá Ingredients

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • 500g salted cod – postas or lascas
  • 200g onions – sliced
  • 5tbsp olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves – minced
  • 400g potatoes
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup black olives
  • Fresh parsley
  • Salt and pepper

Preparation

  1. Start by rinsing the pre-soaked cod in fresh water.
  2. Then cook it in boiling water for approximately 5 minutes.
  3. Cook the potatoes whole in the same water you used to cook the cod, until fork tender. Allow them to cool before removing the peel and cutting them into thin slices.
  4. Place a frying pan over medium heat, once hot, add 2tbsp of olive oil, the onions and garlic, cook for around 3 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, remove the skin and bones from the fish, then chop it into smaller pieces if using bigger cuts.
  6. Add the fish to the frying pan, let it cook for 5 minutes before you add the potatoes, stirring carefully.
  7. At this point there’s two possible options. You can either transfer the cod mixture to a baking dish and cook it in the oven for 15 minutes over medium heat. Or finish cooking it on the stove top. Both methods work very well. This time we decided to finish at the stove top.
  8. Place a small saucepan over high heat, and hard boil your eggs. Transfer them to a bowl with cold water before peeling them and cutting the into thick slices.
  9. Drizzle the cod mixture with the remaining olive oil, season it with salt and pepper. Top it with black olives, the boiled eggs and chopped fresh parsley.
Bacalhau á Gomes de Sá

This is a deliciously simple and easy to make dish using Portuguese bacalhau. If you’re looking for other ideas, 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! Let us know in the comments what you think!


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