Salt Cod

This…substance…has not been on my radar before, so last weekend I set about finding some.

I was surprised it was hard to find, and doubly surprised that, when I finally found it, it was not in the form of dried fillets or chunks, but in a solid, rectilinear, homogenous block. I have not used it yet, but it looks like it was pre-powdered and sintered into a pressed mass.

Is this normal?


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K, I’ve never cooked it but it’s all over the place in Rio. AFAIF, it’s soaked for several days with multiple changes of water. Beyond that I know nothing :slight_smile:

No get together unfortunately. We’ve just been so busy with the apt. And of course the grands. Plan to be back in March. Best, C

Not sure - it always looks like this when I see it in stores:


It’s normally in fillets from what I’ve seen.

I make my own, it’s dead easy. Bury your fillets in salt and place in the fridge for a couple of day. Rinse them off and dry them, then put them back in the fridge wrapped in muslin to dehydrate. I normally leave them a couple of weeks. Once they’re good and dry I either use them (soak in water in the fridge for 48 hours changing the water a couple of times) or store them vacuum sealed in the freezer until I want to use them. I like to choose fatter fillets as the thinner ones can get too chewy in the drying process.

Ah- that might explain my lackluster results. I lived in Puerto Rico briefly in the '80’s and purchased some small fillets to try. Sort of a blind attempt since I had never had them prepared. I should try again now that I’m a better cook!

It’s very popular in Eastern Canada, where the winters are long. They generally make Cod Cakes with the fish.

If you look up Bacalao recipes, you’ll find a famous Spanish/Basque stew that uses SC.

I first tried salt cod prepared as Bacalhau Espiritual, a Portuguese preparation. Basically the fish is flaked into a thick bechamel with some vegetables, then baked with a cheese/breadcrumb topping and served as a dip/spread. Delicious.

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i don’t think so, lol. you need to soak it for 2-3 days and change the water every 12 hours. one restaurant i worked at did the last soak in milk. after all that, see what you have. if it’s just shards and flakes it will be nice mixed with potato into croquettes.


I get it in fillets. Some are quite large - I think the last one I bought was 8#? or so. I love fish cakes made with it. I soak it for a few days in the fridge with many changes of water. Then poach it for about 10 - 12 mins & flake it up. Mix with smashed (chunky) potatoes about 50/50, a couple eggs, diced onions & celery, salt & pepper. Fry in lard or shortening (just enough to cover the bottom of the pan) in your favorite CI Pan. Serve with eggs over & rye toast… Now THAT’S a breakfast.

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I bought some salt cod in a reputable shop last year - used some of it and left some languishing in the back of a drawer in the frig. I recently discovered and, while I’m *pretty**sure it’s still good, I’m not confident enough to actually use it. I’m afraid it will be too dried out… What do you all think?

I’d soak it and see what happens. But I like to live dangerously :sunglasses:



I can’t get this to post any other way. Here’s what it looks like in Brazilian markets.

Can’t imagine too many nastys would have gotten into it with such a high salt content to make it unsafe. I’d soak and see

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Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve never understood the reason for purchasing salt cod. Like buying canned corn in August.

For hundreds of years salt cod was a staple in many places and often was what kept people from starvation. It became the backbone of many dishes. In these times preserved foods are still handy to have on hand. I would think that the salt cod produces different results than fresh - results one might prefer in certain dishes.

Rather like tuna. I don’t treat fresh tuna in the same way as canned. But I enjoy them both and from a cooking/eating standpoint they are quite different from each other.


i’ve used the milk soak before, but i never really could tell that it had much difference from the water soak–at least when making cod cakes, which is mostly all i have ever done with salt cod.

Totally agree with that. They’re completely ubiquitous in Brazil. I doubt there’s a restaurant or snack place that doesn’t serve them.

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Yeah… I get the “why” it was created. I don’t get the why you would choose to use it today. If you like mushy fish, it’s pretty easy to replicate that with an over-poached frozen filet.

Curious why you think it’s mushy?

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