Portuguese Oil Poached Cod

November 16, 2020  |  By Peg Kern
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Portugal is a wonderful culinary destination, and one ingredient you are certain to encounter there is salt cod, or bacalhau. This oil-poached salt cod recipe was one of my favorite recipes that we prepared in Portugal with Chef Rui, and I’ve made it several times since my return. A few hints: if you can’t find good salt cod (which can be tricky) use fresh cod, but make the fillets larger. If you can’t find turnip cabbage substitute a local kale, chard, or similar cabbage-type green.

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Portuguese Poached Cod

Portuguese Oil-Poached Cod

Serves 4
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Cook method: Bake


  • 4 cod steaks (either salt cod, rinsed well and left to soak in water, or fresh)
  • 1 kg turnip cabbage
  • 12 small potatoes
  • 4 shallots
  • 1 dried chorizo sausage (not Mexican chorizo)
  • bottle of olive oil (not extra virgin)
  • 7 cloves of garlic
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • handful of coriander leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste

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Instructions:Portuguese Punch Potatoes

  1. Either boil the potatoes (whole) in salted water or bake them in a generous coat of kosher salt at high heat.
  2. Clean and julienne the cabbage leaves, then boil for 5 minutes.
  3. Remove the chorizo skin and slice, then dice into small pieces. Saute in a pan until crispy.
  4. In an oven-safe dish, add 5 cloves of garlic (crushed), the coriander leaves, the thinly sliced shallots, bay leaves, and cod fillets (drained well and patted dry). Cover with olive oil (this will take a lot of oil). Bake in a 350 degree oven for around 20 minutes.
  5. In the meantime, saute the blanched cabbage (drained well) in olive oil with the other 2 cloves of garlic (minced). Salt to taste.
  6. Lightly smash the potatoes just enough to open them.
  7. Put 2-4 potatoes on a plate with a couple small mounds of the cabbage. Top with the fish, including a bit of the sliced onion, drizzle everything with the poaching oil, then top with some of the crunchy chorizo.

Chef’s tip: you can save the oil for another use. Simply let it cool, strain out the solids, and store it in the refrigerator. Use it to make the same dish again, or whenever you are making a fish dish.

Learn why we think Portugal is one of the best destinations.

Portuguese Poaching Pan
Want to learn Portuguese recipes during a Portugal cooking vacation? Check out our Lisbon Food Tour, our Treasures of Portugal Culinary Tour, and Flavors of Portugal trips!

If you don’t have time for a full cooking vacation, we also offer a wonderful Private Lisbon Cooking Class. Learn more about the chef and enjoy a recipe for Portuguese custard!

Or, check our a couple additional recipes featuring salt cod:

By Peg Kern

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