Portugal is famous for grilled sardines. But the most popular fish in Portugal is bacalhau. In the Portuguese gastronomy you find a different bacalhau dish for every day of the year. So, bacalhau is the most popular fish in Portugal. Like grilled sardines, fado, saudade and futebol, it is part of their identity.
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Bacalhau is the Portuguese word for codfish. Cod is a fish that lives in the northern part of the Atlantic Ocean and North Sea. It is a very popular fish and important for economical reason. In Portugal, codfish became a very popular product due to the trading relationship with England.
Codfish in Portugal is typical a salted fish. In the past, when people didn't yet had a freezer of fridge, food was pickled for preservation. For bacalhau, they keep the tradition to pickle the fish. It also is part of the taste of the bacalhau. Otherwise, the codfish would taste completely different.
When you want to buy bacalhau in Portugal, in most shops they cut off a piece for you. You say which piece you want or how much you want. Afterwards, they cut off a part for you from the fish. Also in the supermarkets they will do it this way. Because in Portugal, they find it important to let the client see that they work with fresh products and clients also still find this important. Of course, it is also possible to buy bacalhau from the freezer which is ready to prepare.
Because the fish is pickled with salt, it is important to first cook the fish. In this way, you boil the salt off the fish. Afterwards the bacalhau is ready to be prepared according the recipe of your dish.
Bacalhau is so a popular fish in Portugal, that you can find a bacalhau dish for every day of the year. Also, in every part of the country, they have another dish with this popular product. This makes bacalhau a fish which is part of the Portuguese identity.
Yes, indeed. In Portugal, they have 365 different bacalhau recipes and dishes. So, you can have every day of the year enjoy another dish with this salted codfish, if you want. Some cookbooks even tell about 1000 dishes with bacalhau. This means that the choices are endless.
As told above, there are so many different great Portuguese dishes with bacalhau. Below, I will share with you 5 famous dishes out of the rich and mouthwatering Portuguese gastronomy.
Boil the bacalhau and serve with potatoes and vegetables.
Pulled bacalhau with potatoes, eggs and olives.
A bacalhau dish made with cream. This is a very popular dish.
Another creamy dish with vegetables, very popular at festivities.
Salt fastfood, as a petisco or a starter dish.
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