2/2/14

Bacalhau à brás (Portugal)

Bacalhau à Brás is one of the traditional dishes of Portugal. The Portuguese have 1001 ways to cook bacalhau (cod fish), but this is one of their best recipes.
The origin is uncertain, but it's said to have originated in Bairro Alto, Lisbon and the "Brás" (or Braz) is supposedly the surname of its creator. 



Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 450g salted cod fillet pieces.
  • 450g potatoes or a large bag of potato chips (the matchstick kind)
  • oil for deep frying the potatoes
  • 150g onions
  • 3-4 whole garlic cloves
  • 35-40g extra virgin olive oil (for the onions and cod)
  • 3 or 4 large eggs 
  • black pepper
  • Some parsley or fresh coriander for decoration
  • some black olives for decoration

Preparation:

Wash off any excess salt from the cod pieces, put them in a large bowl and cover with at least 3 times their volume of cold water, place the cod in the fridge for 24 hours, changing the water at least 4 times. You don’t need to remove all the salt from the fillets,  just re-hydrate and remove the excess salt, if in doubt pick a little bit of flesh from the center to taste how salty it is.

Peel and cut potatoes into matchstick strips as thin as possible. Then fry the matchsticks in a deep pan of oil until golden. Before frying it’s best to wash off excess starch so they don’t stick to each other and drain them well. Deep fry over high heat otherwise they’ll soften and soak up oil 

Cut the onion in fine julienne strips, add the garlic which has been crushed and fry over a low heat in the olive oil, when translucent add the cod which has been flaked, making sure there are no small bones left in the fish, then add the potato chips. Heat everything through but do not burn,  just enough until everything is soft and starting to brown. It is not necessary to season with salt as the cod should add enough to the dish but taste it and add some if needed.

Finally, add the beaten eggs to the mixture, which will result in a creamy, soft bacalhau à Bras.  I do strongly suggest that you mix in the eggs over medium heat being careful to not overcook or your dish will be dry, you want to get it to a creamy but not completely set, scrambled egg/omelet type constituency .
Serve with some chopped parsley or coriander for colour, a sprinkle of freshly milled pepper and some black olives to decorate and for taste.
Bom apetite!

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