Friday, June 17, 2011

Paleo Bacalhau

Being half-Portuguese, Bacalhau is a dish I grew up with. Served at every family gathering, whether it was Christmas, Easter, a birthday, a wedding, whatever season, it was there. It's been a staple for my father's family, & something that is very Portuguese in my eyes.

Since having to cut potatoes out of my diet, it's one dish I haven't had in a long time. There have been moments at family gathering where I would poke around the potato, scooping out what fish, eggs & olives I could find. Alas, I would end up with a rather small serving, or sometimes none at all, as the digging around could get quite tedious.

This past Easter was my first without my family & my first in Sweden. I felt myself missing this dish, & since H had never had Portuguese food before, I ventured to make one that would be 'Nat-friendly', while making a traditional version for H himself.

First, I decided to substitute the potatoes with zucchini. Bacalhau is a dish that has countless variations, but the one that is familiar to me is sliced potato, with sauteed onion, boiled eggs & black lives. So, with this in mind, I decided sliced zucchini would be a worthy replacement, keeping to the layout of the dish.

This serving below is for one. I used unsalted cod in this dish, though traditionally salted cod would be used. This would be soaked initially, then drained, then cooked. I simply added salt to replace the missing saltiness of this dish. I'm also not fond of overly salty foods, so this was fine for me. Those who want more of the real thing would do well to search out salted cod.

Paleo Bacalhau
Serves 1

1 medium zucchini, sliced
200g cod
2 yellow onions, sliced
1-2 cloves garlic, sliced
olive oil
1 egg, boiled
4-5 black or green olives
salt & pepper, to taste
paprika (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 180 deg.
2. Place cod in a saucepan filled with water. Add salt (up to 1 tablespoon or more, depending on how salty you want your fish) & simmer gently until cooked. Strain & set aside.
3. Sautee onion & garlic in a frypan with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil (extra virgin is best), until transparent. Remove from heat.
4. In a baking dish, place first layer of zucchini, to cover the bottom layer. You can add another layer, if you like. Ad a light drizzle of olive oil & sprinkle with salt
5. Add a layer of cod, followed by a layer onion. Drizzle this layer with olive oil & salt.
6. Repeat the previous two steps, then finish with a layer of zuchinni. Drizzle with more oil & a sprinkle of salt. Also sprinkle some paprika & pepper, if desired.
7. Slice the boiled egg into halves or quarters. Place over the top of the dish.
8. Place olives on dish. Sprinkle the top with more olive oil, salt & pepper if desired.
9. Place in oven & bake for 20-25 minutes.

Completed Bacalhau pre-baking

It was a pleasure to recreate this dish for myself & to introduce H to food from my life. I may not see my family much right now, but it's nice to revisit them with the food that I associate with them, in ways that I can enjoy as well. I hope you do too.


  1. I have never heard of this dish, but it sounds delicious! I can't wait to try it. Thank you so much for sharing it on Chowstalker!

  2. Not a problem Patty. Thanks for visiting!

  3. THIS looks absolutely AWESOME! I must save this recipe because the combo sounds stunningly delicious!