• Bacalhau à brás (Salt cod with fried potatoes and egg) (Sharyn Cairns)Source: Sharyn Cairns

The Portuguese adore cod. And not the kind you get with your fish and chips. They love bacalhau that’s dried and salted, that comes in rigid sheets of fishy goodness. Served with fried potatoes and egg, fish and chips just got a touch of Portuguese oomph. Food Safari Water






Skill level

Average: 3.8 (14 votes)

You will need to begin this recipe 2 days ahead of time. 


  • 400 g bacalhau, cut into 15 cm-thick slices and halved
  • 500 g Desiree potatoes
  • 100 ml olive oil, plus extra for drizzling 
  • 3 onions, finely sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 4 fresh bay leaves
  • Pinch of salt
  • 500 ml (2 cups) vegetable or olive oil, for frying the potatoes 
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • handful flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp freshly ground white pepper
  • 100 g black olives

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Soak the salt cod in a large container of cold water for 48 hours, changing the water 3 times. Remove the skin and bones and finely shred the fish with your hands.

Peel the potatoes and use a mandolin to cut into thin slices. Stack the slices into small piles and slice into matchsticks. Rinse under cold water to remove excess starch and drain well.

Heat the olive oil in a heavy-based frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the onions, garlic, bay leaves and salt and cook, stirring regularly or until the onions just start to caramelise.

While the onions are cooking, heat the oil for frying the potatoes in a saucepan to 200˚C. Fry the potatoes, in batches for 3 minutes or until golden. Drain on paper towel.

Whisk the whole eggs and egg yolks together.

Add the shredded bacalhau to the onions and mix well. Cook for a couple of minutes or until just warmed through. Remove the bay leaves. Add the potatoes, then the egg and remove from the heat. Fold through the parsley and white pepper. Serve scattered with olives and drizzled with a little oil.


Photography by Sharyn Cairns. Styling by Lee Blaylock. Food preparation by Rachel Lane. Creative concept by Belinda So.

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