Tortilla de Bacalao

Salt Cod Tortilla

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Tapas


Appears in


By Frank Camorra and Richard Cornish

Published 2007

  • About

This is a dish I reverse-engineered after eating it in a tapas bar in Bilbao. I was taken not just by its rich earthiness but also by its sweet juiciness. Egg and cod work so well together, as proven time and time again. As with any tortilla this is normally served at room temperature, but there is much to be said for slicing off a thick wedge as soon as the tortilla is cool enough to eat. Although it is made with salt cod, which remains quite salty despite the soaking, don’t be afraid to sprinkle over a little extra salt — tortillas really require a lot of salt.


  • 1 leek, trimmed, washed and finely sliced
  • 1 white onion, finely diced
  • 1 green capsicum (pepper), seeded, membrane removed and finely diced
  • 100 ml ( fl oz) extra virgin olive oil
  • 600 g (1 lb 5 oz) piece salt cod fillet, 2–3 cm (¾–1¼ inch) thick, desalinated
  • 10 eggs
  • pinch of sea salt flakes
  • 1 small handful flat-leaf (Italian) parsley, chopped


Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4).

In a 28 cm (11¼ inch) heavy-based frying pan with rounded edges, slowly cook all the vegetables together with 2 tablespoons of the extra virgin olive oil, covered, over low–medium heat for 10–15 minutes. The vegetables should be soft and the onion should be just golden.

Meanwhile, cook the salt cod by placing it on a baking tray, drizzling with a little olive oil, and baking in the oven for 10 minutes. When cooked, the flesh should be pearly white. Remove and allow the fish to cool enough to handle.

Break the eggs into a large bowl with the sea salt flakes and gently whisk together.

Using your fingers, break the cod apart, carefully removing any bones. Mix the cod with the vegetables and return the pan to medium heat. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until the juice from the cod reduces and evaporates and the vegetables start to brown. Increase the heat to high — the residual oil should be bubbling.

Reserve 150 ml (5 fl oz) of the beaten eggs. Add the remaining beaten eggs and the parsley to the cod and vegetables and mix through with a wooden spoon for 1 minute until the mixture begins to thicken. Cook over high heat for 30 seconds to allow a skin to form on the bottom. Reduce the heat to low and work the edges over to form nice round curves, while gently shaking the pan in a circular motion. When the edges begin to form, cook for 5 minutes. Then take a large plate and place over the top of the pan and flip the tortilla onto the plate. Return to the pan, uncooked side down. Increase the heat to medium. Cook for 2 minutes then repeat the flipping process and cook on the original side for 1 minute.

Smooth out any imperfections in the exposed surface by pouring over a little of the reserved beaten egg and smoothing it in with a wooden spoon. Cook for 2 minutes. Flip the tortilla again and repeat the smoothing process on the freshly exposed side, if required, by filling in any holes with some more of the reserved egg and smoothing with a wooden spoon. Cook for 2 minutes.

Remove from the heat and allow to cool a little then cover it with plastic wrap. Place near a hot oven or stovetop for 10 minutes to keep warm. The centre should feel soft but not runny. Serve at room temperature with a salad as a light supper or cut into wedges and serve as tapas.