Enjoy this Puerto Rican Bacalao a la Vizcaina any time of the year but especially special throughout Lent and Good Friday. This delicious and savory fish stew is engulfed in irresistible flavors!
Traditionally, Bacalao a la Vizcaina is made with salted cod fish, otherwise known as bacalao.
Unfortunately though, not everyone can find bacalao where they live and others simply don’t enjoy its strong flavor while others find it extra tasty.
So I wanted to create this classic Easter dish, slightly different so that anyone can make it even if they cannot find bacalao where they live.
Instead of using salted cod fish, we will be using regular frozen (or fresh) cod fish.
This post will also include the recipe using salted cod fish for those who can find it and prefer to use it.
What is Bacalao a la Vizcaina?
The fish is cooked in a savory broth made of tomatoes, garlic, onions, wine, olives and other essential ingredients to bring this dish together.
This dish is incredibly easy and simple to put together and cooked under 30 minutes.
Who Makes Bacalao a la Vizcaina?
With its origins from Spain, this dish is also enjoyed and made throughout Latin America. Of course, all countries, have slight variations.
Bacaloa a la Vizcaina Receta Puertorriqueña
Although, in Puerto Rico, this dish is enjoyed throughout the year, it is also commonly eaten throughout Lent and Good Friday.
During this time, this dish is especially perfect for abstaining from eating meat since it’s made from fish, tomatoes and vegetables.
A few ingredients and less than 30 minutes later, you will have the most savory fish dish!
What is the Difference Between Salted Cod Fish and Regular Cod Fish?
First, it’s important to note that there are two main varieties of cod. The Atlantic Cod and the smaller Pacific Cod.
Regular cod fish, is sold in fish markets, street markets or sold in supermarkets. It is codfish that has been caught and immediately sold or instantly frozen to be sold at a later time to particular vendors, such as supermarkets.
Salted Cod Fish or Bacalao, on the other hand, is cod fish that has been dried and cured through the process of “salting and drying” the fish.
This process has been practiced for over 500 years to help preserve a fisherman’s catch.
- frozen cod fillets
- olive oil
- garlic cloves
- red pimiento peppers
- tomato sauce
- white wine
- bay leaf
- salt and pepper
How to Make Bacalao
- Season the fish fillets on both sides with salt and pepper. Place fillets on a platter, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator until ready to cook.
- Add all the ingredients except the cod fillets to a large caldero (dutch oven pot) or large pan over medium heat and stir.
- Add salt and pepper to taste, stir again and cook everything for 10 minutes.
- Take the cod fillets out of the refrigerator.
- Add the cod fillets on top of the sauce. Cover the pot or pan, lower the heat and bring the sauce to a low boil.
- Cook for 15 minutes or until the fillets are cooked through and potatoes are tender.
- Enjoy this dish on it’s own or better served with a side of arroz blanco (white rice).
Bacalao a la Vizcaina
- 2 pounds fresh or frozen cod fish rinsed
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 potatoes peeled and sliced into quarter inch slices or 1-inch cubes
- 6 cloves garlic or 6 teaspoons of garlic puree minced
- 1 onion sliced
- ½ cup pimiento peppers sliced or chopped
- ¼ cup pimiento olives cut in half
- 1 tablespoon capers
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ⅛ teaspoon cumin
- 1 bay leaf
- ¼ cup white wine
- 6 oz tomato sauce
- 1 cup water
- salt and pepper to taste
- If using frozen cod fish, allow them to defrost in the refrigerator. You can also defrost fillets in a large bowl with enough cold water to cover. Defrost on counter for 20 minutes or so. Note: Do not allow the fish to sit for a long time on counter defrosting or your fish will spoil
- Season the fish fillets on both sides with salt and pepper, place on a platter, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator until ready to cook.
Cooking the Cod
- Add all the ingredients except the cod fillets to a large caldero (dutch oven pot) or large pan over medium heat.Add salt and pepper to taste, stir all the ingredients together and cook everything for 10 minutes.
- Add the cod fillets on top of the sauce, cover the pot or pan, lower the heat and bring the sauce to a low boil.Cook for 15 minutes or until the fillets are cooked through.
- Enjoy this dish on it's own or better served with a side of arroz blanco (white rice).