Bacalao (Salted Cod Salad)

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The Cast, Crew and Dud

Bear with me while I write the post.  I am suffering from a lack of sleep after piping that I think where 1,500 petals last night on to some cupcakes, which I will be posting later.  Me very sleepy, fingers a little cramped.

When I was a kid my grandmother would make this salad and it was one of the few things I would refuse to eat.  Great way to start off a food post huh? Of course I don’t think anyone can successfully feed a child salted cod.  If you have please let me know.  After much protest from both me and my sister this was no longer  offered in our household. 

Moving forward to present day.  When I first moved to Florida my mother-in-law would make this and everyone loved it, especially Hubby.  I thought is was bizarro because all I could remember was how much I protested when I was a kid.  After some reluctance I decided that I would give the salad a try.  After all I didn’t like pickles and mustard when I was a kid, but I eat them now.  I was surprised to discover that I was actually enjoying it. 

It is such a simple recipe and perfect for the summer.  Although the main ingredient is salted cod it is not overly salty and it is not fishy.  It is really a great combo of mild saltiness from the fish and sweet from the combination of tomatoes, onions and olive oil. 

First rinse the salt off the cod.  You don’t have to scrub it or anything because we will boil out more of the salt.  If you have the time you can also let it soak for about 30 minutes.  I usually don’t have the time so I just give it a good rinse. 

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Bring a large pot of water to a boil, drop your cod in let it boil for about 10 mins and then change the water.  Repeat this step 3 times, changing the water each time.  During the second boil you will be adding some additional ingredients into the water. 

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While your cod is on its first boil, peel some plantains.  I only did 2 since their is only two of us. 

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Now this step is here purely for educational purposes because to my dismay I bought these over priced yucca roots, to discover they were bad. 

The waxy, bark looking thing in the first photo is a yucca root, also referred to as a cassava root.  It is a starch much like the potato, but has to be cooked much longer.  The yucca root can be difficult to peel since the skin resembles a bark.  You have to sort of carve it off.  If you have a really sharp and strong potato peeler it can help.  You want to peel it until you see white.

When you peel yucca root is should come out white, not with black lines like these have.  This is a bad root.  Usually you can tell the root is bad if you break it and the ends are clean but this is not always the case as I learned here.  I have been trying to find yucca root ever since I moved to OK and have failed every time.  I would usually buy it already peeled and frozen when I lived in FL, but I can’t find them like that here.  This was my 4th, count them 1st…2nd…3rd…4th attempt at buying fresh yucca here at a local grocer and every time this is what I get.  Grrrrrr.  I even went to Whole Foods and this is what I got!  So annoying!

Needless to say these had to be chucked.  In their place I made a pot of white rice. 

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Thinly slice 1 large yellow onion.

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Cut 12 green olives in half.

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Cube 1/2 of one large avocado or a whole small avocado.

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Now moving on to one of my new loves.  Meet the heirloom tomato.  I have never tired a heirloom tomato before, but they were just sitting there staring at me when I was at Whole Foods.  It was so funky and bumpy….and yes ths one stinking tomato what like 4 bucks but I soon discovered it was well spent.

I was never a huge fan of the tomato.  I always would kind of shrug my shoulder and say ehhh, no biggy.  I never understood it when people would say that they could just eat it like an apple because they are so sweet.  Personally I never thought tomatoes had much taste to them at all.  Apparently I have just been eating those over processed tomatoes, because this tomato was one of the sweetest things I have ever tried.  When I ate it, suddenly all the little taste-buds in my mouth were doing the electric slide.  It was heavenly.

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This tomato was sooooo tasty, it was sweet and suple.  If you ever have $4 to blow on a tomato? I say do it.

I though that I should honor it with a little supermodel photo shoot.  I set up the stage, the lights and even got out the fan….you know just for effect. ;)

Fabulous darling….fabulous.  Turn left….chin up.  Ok not the side….YOUR A TIGER….GRRRRRR.  Yeah baby…YEAH!

tomato montage

Ok enough of that .

Dice your tomato

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By now you should be on your 2nd boil for the cod fish.  Add 2 eggs and your plantains to the water to boil.  I let the eggs boil for about 7 minutes, transfer to a bowl with some of the hot water and let it sit about another 5 minutes or until ready to peel and dice.  

Boil the plantains until the are tender, they will transfer into the 3rd boil.
 

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Peel and dice your eggs.

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Now put your onions into a hot skillet with 2 Tbs of olive oil.  Cook the onion until they just begin to get opaque, you do not want to cook them through, you want to keep a bit of a crunch. 
 
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Transfer onions into a large bowl.  Drain the cod fish, reserving some of the water to keep the plantains in until ready to serve. 

Add the cod fish to the onions.

 
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Mix it together breaking up the cod fish.

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Add olives, tomatoes, egg and diced avocado.
 
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Drizzle with olive oil, appox. 2 – 3 Tbs and toss. 

Served over a bed of rice with boil plantains on the side.  Keep the olive oil handy, we always drizzle a little more over everything.

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Now I don’t have a finally picture because….well we were hungry and I didn’t get a chance to take one.  :D 

If you like fish you will love this salad.  Trust me.

Let’s break it down.

Print Recipe

Ensalada de Bacalao (Salted Cod Salad)

  • 1 lb of salted cod
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 1 large tomato (heirloom is the best)
  • 1/2 large avocado or a whole small avocado
  • 2 hard boiled eggs
  • 12 green olives
  • olive oil
  • 2 boiled green plantains (optional)

Comments

  1. Irma says

    Love your recipe!! This reminds me of my mothers bacalao. Thanks for the post. Do you have any recipes for bacalao guisado or any other fish recipes?

  2. Angel says

    I love this!! My mother-in-law made a different version. My husband is Puerto Rican, the food is amazing!!!

  3. Amanda says

    Meseidy,

    I am a Puerto Rican from NY that moved to Tulsa and can never find the salted cod in the box here! Where did you find it?I tried, Kim’s International foods and Nam Hi (or however you spell it) but couldn’t find it. Also, guineos are hard to find. Gracias!

    • says

      I got true salted cod at White River Fish Market. It’s pricey but worth it. Sometimes you can find Goya bacalao at Nam Hai, sometimes salted pollock which you can use as a substitute, but it hit and miss. The guienitos I have only found in Nam Hai at times. I hope this helps. Good luck!

  4. Mike Nickerson says

    Aloha Meseidy,
    As you can tell, I’m not Puertoricano(?) but I have a step-daughter coming for Thanksgiving who is. She has been a big fan of Bacalao since she was a very young child. Naturally, I wanted to make her favorite dish for her visit and found your recipe…Thank you! My favorite is Ensalada de Pulpo in a plastic cup on the beach with a Fria!
    Best wishes for the coming holidays and bon provecho!

  5. says

    Hi. About 3 years ago I had a coworker who used to bring to work this salad It was absolutely delicious. Once I even gave her some money for all the ingredients and she made a whole lot, and I shared it with everyone on the nursing floor. Well since then, she left and I retired and we lost contact. I tried on my own to make it,, but it never came out right. Today I went on line and therre was your recipe. I did everything as you said. I even bought yucca (Goya frozen) from Shoprite and made them too, with Goya plaintains.
    ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS. Thank you.

  6. Alba R says

    I love my serenata with everything cut in big chunks (lettuce, tomatoes and onions) an a lot of the ever good olive oil with some vinegar. For the side, I don’t care for anything else but boiled green bananas and yautía (taro root). Mmm, one of my favorites dishes since I was a little kid.

  7. SandyD says

    OMG, I love this. Being a Puerto Rican I grew up eating this and I still love it. I’m making this on the weekend with some arroz junto con habichuelas y escabeche de guineos. I can’t wait!!!

  8. Jeannette Perez says

    This is so good, I can’t wait to make it again. We used to have it on especially hot days in P.R., make up a huge batch, stick in the fride to chill and eat it on pan sopao. SO GOOD!

  9. John says

    Stumbled upon your site and this great recipe! When we were kids salt cod was poor people’s food and I swore I would never eat it again as an adult. I now love it and can’t wait to make your beautiful salad! As I remember, salt cod was around 50 cents a pound back then. How things have changed.
    Thank you!

  10. Margarita says

    My mother used to make this salad at least once a week when I was growing up.
    It was great with vianda or white rice and white beans. “YUM” Now I’m craving it.
    HAVE TO MAKE IT SOON.

  11. says

    Oh my goodness…this is my absolute favorite! Although I have to have a little piece of malanga with it. :)

    Thank you for the recipe…I usually only eat it when my mom makes it, but I think I will have to try this recipe over the weekend.

    • Roberto says

      I enjoyed reading your recipe. It cracked me up. I would very much appreciate a few more recipes if you wouldn’t mind emailing them to me. I love the Bacala’ito Frito, Sancocho, The steak marinated in onions, the Gondinga, beef stew & Chicken stew for over rice, Rice recipe; red, yellow, Thanks again for posting & I really enjoyed reading your way of putting things.
      You may enjoy some of my spelling, I was born & raised in the U.S. but Love who I am & My Island, which I visit every opportunity I get. I do speak my language & feel blessed that it was my first language. Have a wonderful day & Lord Bless. Thanks again.

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