Top Spanish Bacalao Main Course Recipes

Favorite Salt Cod Dishes

Meatless Fridays have been the tradition in Catholic countries for many centuries. During that time, the Spanish have observed Lent, eating meatless dishes, and they developed a wide ​variety of salt cod fish or "bacalao" recipes. Even though today salting fish is not needed to preserve it, the traditional salted "bacalao" dishes remain popular - because they taste great! First, soak the cod in water for 24 to 48 hours to leach out the salt, then prepare with accompanying sauces...MORE - tomato sauce, or paprika sauce, vegetables in wine sauce.

  • 01 of 07
    Salted cod fish (bacalhau) with rice
    Alexander Spatari/Getty Images

    Cod fish with Samfaina sauce, a vegetable sauce similar to ratatouille is a regional dish from Cataluña, a region in eastern Spain. The salty cod compliments the fresh, sweet flavors of the Samfaina with zucchini, tomatoes, eggplants and peppers.

  • 02 of 07
    Bacalao with peppers
    Gloria Cabada-Leman/Flickr

    Like so many of the salt cod dishes, this comes from the Basque Country. Salt cod is first sautéed in garlic-infused olive oil, then smothered in a "pisto" sauce made of chopped onions, green peppers, and ripe tomatoes. It is such a tasty dish, and easy enough for any novice.

  • 03 of 07

    Cod with Paprika and Potatoes Recipe - Bacalao a la Tranca

    Codfish and remolade with roast potatoes
    Creativ Studio Heinemann/Getty Images

    This cod dish is popular all year but has a special place on Good Friday’s menu. Fry salt cod, then drizzle with olive oil and slices of sautéed garlic. It is traditionally served with boiled potatoes and eggs.

  • 04 of 07
    Paprika poached cod
    Philippe Desnerck/Getty Images

    This is a good recipe for beginner cooks because it is simple. First, fry the fresh cod fish, then prepare a sauce made of smokey Spanish paprika, vinegar, and lemon juice. The paprika in the sauce makes this a very colorful and aromatic dish, and a good main course, especially for Lent. Serve with plain rice or home-fried potatoes.

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • 05 of 07
    Fillet of cod fish with tomato sauce
    Juanmonino/Getty Images

    Although eaten year-round, this dish is traditional to prepare at Christmas and during Lent. The salty cod combines well with the sweetness of the roasted pepper and tomato sauce. Serve with fried potatoes.

  • 06 of 07

    Bacalao Omelet Recipe - Tortilla de Bacalao

    Scrambled codfish with potatoes and eggs
    Blanchi Costela/Getty Images

    After leaching salt from cod, flake into small pieces. Saute peppers and onions, and mix all with eggs. This omelet makes a wonderful light dinner and is an easy dish for a novice cook.

  • 07 of 07
    Codfish with Olive Oil
    Miomea/Getty Images

    Bacalao al Pil Pil is a traditional Basque dish but is well known all over Spain. It is simply made with salt cod (bacalao in Spanish), thin slices of garlic and olive oil.