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Mommy’s Bacalhau


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Mommy's Bacalhau


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Mommy’s Bacalhau

Bacalhau is a traditional Portuguese dish incorporating codfish and potatoes. Its form and texture is akin to lasagna but its flavor is distinctly European. My mother takes great pride in preparing it the same way her mother did and I am proud to do the same in my own kitchen now!


  • Ready Time : 0 min



  • 1 lb of codfish
  • 1 onion
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 cups of soy milk
  • 1/2 tbsp dried parsley
  • 5 yellow potatoes
  • salt (as needed)
  • 1 cup of breadcrumbs
  • 4 large eggs (2 hard boiled, 2 beaten)
  • 1/4 cup of black olives


Cover the cod with water in a Tupperware container and seal. Place in the fridge for 12-24 hours depending on the quantity and size of pieces.

Place the cod in a large pot with water and bring the water to a boil. Once boiling, allow it to simmer for 20 minutes.

Once the cod is cooked, shred it using two forks and set aside.

Cut and dice an onion. Sauté the onion on medium heat in a large skillet for 4-5 minutes until translucent. Add the garlic, pepper and tomato paste.

Add the soy milk and parsley. When the milk gets hot, add the shredded cod and let it cook for 15 minutes on medium heat allowing the mixture to thicken.

Meanwhile, peel and slice the potatoes into thin circles. Fry the potatoes in a single layer, in a prepared skillet sprinkling with salt.

Using margarine, grease a 9” glass-baking dish (this also works just as well in a corning ware or aluminum loaf pan for small batches – the method in my home however has always been to use the glass baking dish). Sprinkle breadcrumbs over the prepared dish until it is completely coated.

Now you’re ready to assemble the dish, just like you would a lasagna! Start by creating a single layer of the fried potatoes, overlapping them to ensure the surface of the dish is covered. Next add the cod mixture spreading it evenly over the potatoes. Repeat this process, ending with a layer of potatoes.

In a small saucepan, hard-boil 2 eggs.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

On the top layer of the Bacalhau, arrange slices of the hard-boiled egg as well as a handful of olives.  In a small cup, beat two eggs and pour over the Bacalhau.  Cook for 40 minuets at 375 degrees F.



About Itsy Bitsy Balebusta


When life gets messy I find the best way to step back and regroup is by creating a messy kitchen! There's nothing like mixing bowls and measuring cups strewn about & the smell of warm Challah or cupcakes baking! I cook & bake to preserve the memory of & celebrate the incredible Balebustas in my family! Next to them, I’m still an itsy bitsy balebusta, learning what it takes to make a home & how to take the batches life gives us with a grain of salt (& lots of chocolate!). You can find out more about me at http://www.itsybitsybalebusta.com/p/about.html




6 Responses to Mommy’s Bacalhau

  1. avatar says: rabjeff

    Certainly sounds interesting, but I’m skeptical that soy milk is the traditional ingredient. Probably did not use marg either.

    • The original recipe did indeed call for 2% milk and regular butter however in order to keep this recipe pareve I tested it a few times using soy milk and margarine and managed to achieve the same texture and taste!

  2. I assume we are talking Salt Cod here not fresh Cod since it is being soaked….love the name itstybitsybalebusta……

    • Thanks so much! The traditional recipe calls for salted cod, however I have only ever been able to find unsalted cod in kosher fish markets. I soak it to retain the texture of the original dish when it is boiled and then shredded.

  3. Looks great! the traditional dish uses salt cod. Do you make this with fresh cod, and does it still need the long soaking? Would love to know because I’d like to try it soon. Delighted that it’s parve.

    • I made this recipe using unsalted cod, but still soaked it to retain the texture in the original recipe. I tested it a few times and found that soaking it despite the fact that it was unsalted yielded the closest result to the traditional recipe!

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