Bacalhau à Bràs
As seen in Season two Episode four of Maria’s Portuguese Table, Bacalhau à Brás is a traditional Portuguese family recipe. Tia Maria’s European Café in New Bedford, Massachusetts makes this dish with fried potatoes and tomatoes to garnish. This is the traditional recipe.
1 lb dried cod
2 potatoes chopped
1 large onion
3 eggs beaten
5 cloves garlic
Olive oil to taste
Salt to taste
White pepper to taste Parsley to taste Olives to taste
Before making your Bacalhau à Bras, you want to prepare the codfish. Prepare the cod the day before by soaking it in water overnight or for a full twenty-four hours, depending on the thickness of the fish as well as your preference of a salty flavor. You must first rinse the salt off, and then place the salted cod in a bowl large enough to hold the cod for 12 hours or more. It is important to change the water 2-3 times daily and to refrigerate while desalting. Once desalted, boil the codfish until it flakes and you can begin preparing your Bacalhau à bras.
Place your stove on a low heat and oil your deep frying pan. Let the oil warm up and add in your onions. Stir in your onions and slowly saute. On the side, beat your eggs and throw in the parsley and white pepper. Stir your codfish and add in your chopped potatoes and garlic. Lastly, add your egg mixture into the pan. You want to make sure you mix everything together to ensure all the flavors are dispersed. When done, garnish with olives and parsley and enjoy!
- Be thorough when removing the bones to prevent any unpleasant surprises while eating.
- Use a mandoline or sharp knife for potatoes: For even and thin potato matchsticks or shoestring-style fries, use a mandoline slicer or a sharp knife. This will ensure that the potatoes cook evenly and quickly.
- Fry the potatoes separately: Fry the potato matchsticks separately until they are golden and crispy. This will give the dish a pleasing texture. Drain them on paper towels to remove excess oil.
- Cook the onions slowly: Cook the onions over low heat to caramelize them gently. This process will bring out their natural sweetness, which adds depth to the dish.
- Flake the cod gently: Be careful not to overcook the shredded cod, as it may become tough and chewy. Gently cook it with the onions just until it is heated through.
- Beat the eggs: Whisk the eggs before adding them to the pan. This will ensure that they are evenly distributed throughout the dish.
- Cook the eggs gently: Cook the eggs on low heat, stirring gently, to achieve a soft, creamy consistency. Be cautious not to overcook the eggs, as they can become rubbery.
- Add olives and parsley: Black olives and chopped fresh parsley are traditional garnishes for Bacalhau à Bràs. These ingredients add a burst of color, flavor, and texture to the dish.
- Adjust seasoning: After combining all the ingredients, taste the dish and adjust the seasoning as needed. Salted cod can still be quite salty even after soaking, so be mindful when adding additional salt.
- Let the dish rest: Allowing the dish to rest for a few minutes before serving will help the flavors meld and deepen. Serve Bacalhau à Bràs with a simple green salad and crusty bread to complement the rich flavors.