Gratin of Salt Cod and Potatoes

  • Active Time 25m
  • Total Time 25h 45m
  • Rating ****

Serves 4

Gomes de Sá was a well-regarded restaurateur from the city of Porto, and this dish, one of his specialties, has become a permanent part of the sizable Portuguese repertoire of salt cod recipes. This bacalhau classic can be assembled up to 8 hours in advance and then reheated in the oven just before serving time.


  • 1 pound skinless salt cod fillets
  • Hot milk, if needed
  • 1 1/2 pound boiling potatoes (about 3 large), peeled
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 20 oil-cured black olives
  • 2 eggs, hard-cooked and sliced


Place the salt cod in a bowl and add cold water to cover. Cover and refrigerate for 24-48 hours, changing the water often.

Drain the cod well, rinse in cold water and place in a saucepan. Add water to cover and slowly bring to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat to low. Simmer gently until the cod is tender when pierced with a fork, flaking easily, about 15-20 minutes.

Drain the cod and let cool. Using your fingers, break up the cod, removing any errant bones, skin or tough parts. Taste it. If it seems too salty, place in a bowl and add hot milk to cover. Let stand for 30 minutes, then drain.

Place the potatoes in a saucepan and add water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat and boil until cooked through but still firm when pierced with a fork, about 10-15 minutes. Drain well and when cool enough to handle, cut into slices 1/4 inch thick. Set aside.

Warm 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until tender but not browned, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic, if using, and sauté for 2 minutes longer. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate and set aside.

Warm 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in the same pan over medium heat. Add the potatoes and sauté, stirring briskly, until golden, about 5-8 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F. Oil an 11 x 7 x 1 1/2-inch oval gratin dish or 4 individual gratin dishes. Layer half of the potatoes in the dish or dishes. Top with half of the cod, then half of the onions and parsley. Sprinkle with the pepper. Repeat the layering with the remaining potatoes, cod and onions. Drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil.

Bake until golden, about 25 minutes. Garnish with the olives and hard-cooked eggs, sprinkle with the remaining parsley and serve.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Weldon Owen. All rights reserved.

RecID 680

nutrition information per serving

330 calories; 8g total fat; 155mg cholesterol; 291mg sodium; 38g carbohydrates; 4g fiber; 28g protein

These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.

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