Bacalao a la Vizcaina or Biscay Style Cod | A Pescetarian Dish for Special Occasions
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A dish of Spanish origins and later adapted to local Mexican ingredients, bacalao a la vizcaína is a salted cod dish perfect for special occasions and celebrations.
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Pescetarian, Mexican
Serves: 6 servings
  • 500 grams or 1.1 lb. of skinless salted cod
  • 375 grams 13 oz of finely chopped white onion (it was about 2.5 med-small ones)
  • 475 grams or about 1 lb. of ripe roma tomato, chopped (about 5 whole)
  • 6-7 large cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into small bite-size pieces
  • one large red bell pepper, seeded and cut into small pieces
  • one Tablespoons of sweet paprika, optional and mostly for colour
  • 60 grams or 2 oz of capers, or adjust to taste*
  • 100 grams or 3.5 oz of green pitted olives (I used ones stuffed with red pepper), or adjust to taste*
  • pickled long chilies gueros (or pickled mild peppers), adjust to taste*
  • a very large handful of fresh parsley
  • 6 Tablespoons of good quality olive oil
  • extra olive oil, optional and if needed
Soaking The Cod:
  1. Rinse the cod with cold water, then place in a bowl and cover with cold water. Cover the bowl, place in the fridge and let it sit overnight. The next morning drain the water and refill with clean cold water, cover the bowl and place back in the fridge. Sometime in the evening drain the cod again and again refill with fresh water. Cover and leave overnight and in the morning repeating the process. You will need to do this for a total of 3 days. A way to be 100% sure that your cod is no longer salty is by to tasting it or putting a clean finger in the soaking water and tasting it to make sure that it isn’t salty any more — if still salty on last day of soaking you'll need to change the water every couple of hours until ready.
Cooking The Bacalao:
  1. After the cod has been soaked, de-salted and rehydrated, you need to pull it apart into small shreds and also remove all of the bones and any cartilage or any bits of skin left.
  2. In a large pot or very large pan, heat 3 Tablespoons of olive oil and once hot add the onion and cook until soft and transparent. Next add the garlic and saute for a couple of minutes, next add
  3. the cod and the remaining 3 Tablespoons of oil and fry until for 5 minutes. Now add the tomatoes and bell peppers, mix and cook until the tomatoes cook down. Now add the potatoes, some of the chopped parsley and the sweet paprika. Give the ingredients a good stir and cook under medium low heat until the potatoes have soften or are fork tender.
  4. After the potatoes have cooked add the drained olives and capers, the rest of the parsley, and optionally another 3 to 5 Tablespoons of olive oil cover, and simmer under medium-low heat for another 15 minutes. After this time taste the dish and only if needed add a little bit of salt at a time until it's to your taste. I find that for my taste the olives and capers add enough saltines to the dish, but everyone is different. Lastly add the chilies and mix them into the fish stew and if you'd like you can also add some of the pickling juice from the chilies jar.
  5. Serve with crunchy bread, steamed white rice and a nice simple green salad. In Mexico we like to reheat the leftovers and eat them inside of a crunchy bolillos or Mexican bread rolls. This dish keeps getting better and better the longer you let it cook and allow the flavours to develop and merge into one another. In total I cook my bacalao for at leat 1.5 hours under low heat until I see the oil separating and floating to the top. Also since this makes such a large portion we always have leftovers for the next day or two.
*Keep in mind that the olives and capers have a saltiness to them, so if you want to add more than the recipe I suggest adding them at the very end of the dish or as a decoration to prevent excess salty flavours.

**The cod needs to soak for 3 days to remove the salt, but the actual prep for cooking the dish isn't too difficult.
Recipe by Mexican Made Meatless™ at