Portuguese-Style Salt Cod

This is very good indeed served with plain boiled or steamed new potatoes. A jug of extra virgin olive oil and some halved lemons might also accompany the fish.


  • 1–1½ lb / 455–680 g fresh cod fillet
  • 4 oz / 110 g coarse sea salt
  • 1 mild onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • handful of olives
  • chopped coriander


Take a shallow lidded box for the refrigerator. Cut the fillet into four pieces to fit in the box in a single layer. Put half the salt in the bottom of the box, lay the fish fillets on top, and spread the remaining salt over them. Cover and refrigerate for 2 days before use. Pour off the brine, and keep the fish in clean cold water for 8–15 hours, changing it from time to time. Skin the fish and dry thoroughly. In a large frying pan, gently fry the onion in the olive oil until soft and golden. Add the fish, and cook until it becomes just opaque. This takes only a few minutes. Season with pepper, and add the olives and coriander. Cover with a lid, and shake the pan, the steam causing the coriander to release its fragrant oils. Serve.


Garlic, peeled and thinly sliced, can be cooked with the onion.