Portugal may be known for delicacies that come straight from the sea, but its most famous seafood is anything but fresh. Visit virtually every food market in Portugal and you will see cod in the fish section. The Portuguese factory dries cod and processes it into bacalhau, which is eaten locally but is also exported to many countries, including the United States, where each dried fish dish has its own preparation and identity.
Bacalhau has been produced since at least the 16th century and is still widely eaten in many parts of the world. It is found in the United States, Canada, Colombia, Colombia, Chile, Mexico, Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Uruguay, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Costa Rica, Haiti, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Venezuela, Jamaica, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Hong Kong, China and the Philippines. Although most of the cod in Portugal today comes mostly from the Gulf of Mexico or the Atlantic.
According to the Portuguese, there are 365 different ways to cook bacalhau, which is a fancy way of saying that there are many different recipes. It is a dish that has been a staple of the country’s cuisine for decades.
Bacalhau is a dish that is served as a main meal at Christmas. On Good Friday, known in Portuguese as Sixth Feira Santa, when most households do not eat meat, but eat fish in the form of salted cod dishes such as bacal hau. They also eat the fish on Christmas Eve as a side dish.
A common variant is to toss a piece of cod with scrambled eggs, and it’s a sort of Portuguese shepherd’s pie. Bacalhau Bras is a traditional Portuguese dish with mashed potatoes, bacon, scrambled eggs, cheese and fish. Portuguese dishes, the combination of fried potatoes and scrambled eggs make it the ultimate comfort food. It is smothered in olive oil, soaked in a fluffy mashed potato, on which melted pieces of cheese are buried.
It is a delicious dish smothered in mashed potatoes with a rich sauce of garlic, onions, tomatoes, basil, garlic and peppers.
Bacalhau dishes are by far the dishes I enjoyed the most when I first walked on Portuguese soil. It was not until the 15th century, when Portuguese sailors crossed the North Atlantic, that it was introduced into Portuguese cuisine. In Portugal, dried fish quickly became a national cuisine, being sold throughout the country, where cod is served as a main course, as well as many other dishes such as shrimp, pinto beans and even pork. The first signs of what it does appear in Portugal in the 16th and 17th centuries, possibly in the form of Newfoundland.
During my trip, I enjoyed the bacalhau in various dishes, such as pinto beans, shrimp and pork, but it always seemed wrong to me to find it salted in Portuguese dishes, because I do not use much salt in my food, although some do. In Portugal, it is usually eaten as a main course, where it is cooked in a casserole dish with shredded carrots and cream, or as an appetiser.