In Portugal you always eat well, that’s why it is hardly possible to catch a restaurant there where a bad bacalhau is served. This recipe comes from my mother, she always served the bacalhau on holidays, because it is a lot of work.
- 1,5 KG Bacalhao (Brazilian spelling, in Portugal: Bacalhau)
- 1 KG potatoes
- 3 big onions
- Black olives according to taste
- At least 500 grams of tomatoes, sweet and preferably waterless
- 1 bunch of parsley
- Black pepper, freshly mortared or ground
- 200 ML olive oil
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 hard boiled eggs
Soak the bacalhao in a large bowl for at least 24 hours before preparation. Change the water regularly. During the process, be sure to store the bacalhao in the refrigerator.
On the day of preparation, remove the bacalhao from the refrigerator, soak well again. Drain cold water and pour boiling water on the fish, let it rest in it for 15 minutes. This trick makes it easier to take the bacalhao apart. In Portugal, this is called “Desfiar o Bacalhao.”
Now take the pieces (I always have the fish cut into smaller pieces at the store, I would definitely recommend it, saves a lot of time and effort) out of the water and pull them apart with your hands, making sure there are no bones left. Treat all pieces this way and set aside.
Peel the potatoes and cut into thin slices. Peel the onions and also cut them into very thin rings. Cut the tomatoes into thin slices.
In a large casserole, pour a good amount of olive oil. Carefully layer the potatoes, bacalhao, tomatoes, onions and olives with the bacalhao. Add finely chopped parsley. Season each layer with a little black pepper and always add a little olive oil.
Continue in this way until the baking dish is full. Put it in the preheated oven (at the beginning I cover it with aluminum foil, which I remove later). Braise at 140-160°C until the potatoes are cooked through, then the dish is ready.
Finally, slice the hard-boiled eggs and garnish the bacalhao with them. It goes well with white bread, an ice cold beer (or of course a nice Vinho Verde).