A fish that flashed a national obsession

Key takeaways: 

  • Bacalhau (salt cod) is a profound piece of Portugal’s culinary personality.
  • In any case, the fish is viewed as distant from the nation’s shores, so how did this relationship become and go on today?

On a virus winter’s night in Portugal, it could come to your table com Natas – straight from the stove and rising in cream – layered between broiled potato and cut onion and flavored with nutmeg. Winding through Lisbon’s lofty and cobbled roads, it wouldn’t take well before you found somebody serving it as a light and firm squander, cleaned with somewhat coarse salt and dished up with a pot of sharp aioli. You could get it molded as mouth-sized seared potato dumplings pastéis style, enhanced with parsley and garlic, for a stroll along the banks of Porto’s Douro Waterway. You could try and go over it as a feature of a great southern bread soup, finished with coriander and a poached egg.

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That is because bacalhau – or salt cod – which sits at the core of this large number of dishes, runs profound through Portugal’s culinary character, with the nation consuming 20% of the world’s stock. So the key to Portuguese hearts (and stomachs) is this fixing; the maxim goes, “there are 365 methods for planning salted cod, one for every day of the year”.

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