Cod fish: Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá

white plate with bacalhau gomes de sá made with potatoes, olives, onion and eggs
Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá is one of the most traditional codfish dishes in Portuguese cuisine. With simple ingredients and preparation, this dish demonstrates the harmony of Portuguese cuisine's flavors.

Portuguese cuisine is well-known for its simple yet delicious dishes that take full advantage of its ingredients. Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá is a classic recipe that brings the Portuguese taste to your table.

About Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá

The recipe for Codfish à Gomes de Sá was created in the city of Porto at the beginning of the 20th century. The dish was invented by the codfish seller Jose Luis Gomes de Sá Junior. However, the popularity of Codfish Gomes de Sá-Style was only consolidated when its creator sold the recipe to his friend, a cook at the Lisbonense restaurant.

In the original recipe, the pieces of codfish had to be marinated in hot milk for about two hours before preparation. Then, the cod was baked in the oven with garlic, onions, and potatoes, always drizzled with plenty of olive oil. Before serving, parsley, black olives, and hard-boiled eggs were added. 

Over time, the recipe has been simplified and gained several adaptations. However, the historical importance of Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá is indisputable, and it was chosen as a finalist in the award The 7 Wonders of Portuguese Cuisine

Main ingredients for Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá

Desalted  Bacalhau

Dried and Salted Cod is the star of this Portuguese dish. To be used in the recipe, you must first desalt the cod in a very simple, yet slow process, which can be done at home. Another option is to buy already desalted cod, easily found in fish markets, emporiums, or supermarkets.

Potatoes

The potato is an essential ingredient in the preparation of Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá. For this recipe, the potatoes must be cooked but still firm. This ensures that they do not fall apart during preparation.

Boiled eggs and black olives

The boiled eggs and black olives are placed in Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá only when it is finished. However, they are essential ingredients to give the dish its final touch of flavor.

Tips for making a perfect Codfish Gomes de Sá style

Choosing good ingredients

Gomes de Sá, the original recipe’s inventor, stressed the importance of selecting good ingredients when preparing his codfish dish. 

How to desalt cod

Before you prepare the recipe, the cod must first be desalted. The pieces of cod should first be washed under running waters.

Next, place the cod in a bowl of cold water and let it sit in the fridge with the skin facing upward. The time required will vary depending on their size (between 24 to 72 hours). It is important to change the water every so often.

You can taste a small piece of codfish to check for the desired point of saltiness.

Egg Point

You can adjust the point of the eggs to suit your personal preference. We recommend a cooking time of 5 minutes for soft yolks. For creamier yolks, cook for 7 minutes. If you prefer hard yolks and well-cooked eggs, 12 minutes should be sufficient. The eggs should be kept at room temperature before being placed in boiling water.

Quantity of olive oil:

It is essential to use lots of olive oil when preparing the Gomes de Sá codfish so that it doesn’t become dry.

Variations of Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá recipe

There are several variations on the recipes for Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá to adapt the dish to the ingredients available or to personal taste. Some ideas are:

  • Potatoes can be replaced by other vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cassava, or Italian zucchini;
  • You can replace the cod with other fish;
  • You can add seafood such as shrimp and squid in addition to cod.

How to serve the Gomes de Sá style codfish

In a special lunch with family or friends, Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá can be accompanied by white rice and a good glass of Portuguese wine.

How to make Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá 

white plate with bacalhau gomes de sá made with potatoes, olives, onion and eggs

Cod Fish: Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá

5 from 1 vote
Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá is one of the most traditional codfish dishes in Portuguese cuisine. With simple ingredients and preparation, this dish demonstrates the harmony of Portuguese cuisine’s flavors.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 15 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Portugal
Servings 4 servings

Adjust servings

Ingredients

  • 2 pieces desalted codfish
  • 6 potatoes - medium-sized – cut into thick slices
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 cloves garlic - crushed
  • 2 onions - chopped
  • olive oil
  • parsley
  • black olives
  • salt
  • black pepper

Instructions

Cooking the ingredients:

  • Cook the eggs in a pan with boiling water. Set aside.
  • In another pan with water, add the potatoes and the codfish with a little olive oil. Bring to medium heat.
  • When the water starts boiling, remove the cod pieces and set aside.
  • Leave the potatoes on the fire until they are cooked. Reserve about 250 mL of the cooking water.
  • Shred the cod into large chips.

Preparing the Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá

  • Saute the bay leaf, onions and garlic in olive oil.
  • Add the potatoes and drizzle with olive oil.
  • Add the 250 mL water taken from cooking the cod.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Add the shredded cod, mix well and drizzle with more olive oil.
  • Add chopped parsley. Close the pan and cook for a few minutes.
  • Put the mixture in a baking pan, add more olive oil and bake in a preheated oven at 180°C for 20 minutes.
  • Remove the baking pan from the oven and finish the dish by adding olives, chopped parsley and the chopped hard boiled eggs.
  • Serve hot.
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