One of my favorite mother-in-law creations is this comforting dish made with salt cod (bacalao), eggs, shoestring potatoes, onions, and peppers. Antonia whips this up in no time and serves it dotted with homemade tomate frito.
If you can’t find salt cod you could substitute ham or even chorizo — though I’d use much less in either case. I wouldn’t use fresh cod here, as I think the fish would become overcooked and mushy, and fresh cod deserves better. But you could substitute shrimp — just be careful not to overcook!
To make this easy recipe, you’ll need to buy some salt cod and make sure to desalt it beforehand. Here in Spain you can buy it already desalted, or you can leave it in cold water over 12-48 hours, changing the water every so often to rehydrate the fish and allow the salt to escape. Just taste a little nibble if you’re not sure if it’s ready to use. If it’s still super salty, change the water again.
Antonia’s Salt Cod With Eggs and Potatoes
Salt Cod With Eggs and Potatoes (Bacalao con Huevos y Patatas)
- 400 g of salt cod desalted and hand shredded
- 3 large eggs
- 2 large onions
- 1 large green pepper
- 4 large fist sized potatoes (and a box grater)
- Olive oil
- Oil to fry ideally olive oil or a neutral vegetable oil
- First make sure your cod is properly desalted
- Hand shred the cod, making sure to remove any small bones left inside
- Slice the onions and peppers into thin rings
- Grate the potatoes with a box grater into shoestrings (I prefer to do this in advance, though my mother-in-law does this directly over the hot frying oil in the moment)
- Warm about 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy pan over medium heat and add the onions and peppers
- Cook slowly for about 15 minutes or until caramelized
- Add the shredded cod and sauté for a few minutes, until the cod is mostly cooked
- Crack three eggs over the pan (or crack ahead of time into a small bowl and add -- if you're worried about shells)
- Sauté the eggs with the rest of the mixture for a couple of minutes -- until about halfway cooked
- Take the pan off the heat while you fry your potatoes
- Heat another pan with oil and fry the shoestring potatoes in small batches until crispy -- reserve in a bowl until all are fried
- Put the cod mixture back on the heat and start adding in the potatoes, handful by handful
- Stir gently to mix everything together, and while you are doing this the eggs will finish cooking through
- Serve immediately so that the potatoes are still crispy
- You can optionally serve with dollups of tomate frito on the side
What do you think? Have you ever tried salt cod? Give it a go with this easy Spanish recipe!