Food – A generational story

Food – A generational story

If you come to my home, I am going to want to make you food. Whether you are a friend helping with a chore around the house, or a family member dropping in, there is undeniable need to provide food … Continue reading

Salt cod and potatoes or Bacalhau à Gomes De Sà – WVS style

The youngest of the sisters had a recent birthday, and, for said birthday, requested a family favourite – salt cod and potatoes. Now, I have only known this recipe to be made the way that it was passed down from our Dad – and it seems he put his own twist on a Portuguese tradition.

We the sisters whose birthday it was not, decided to make a night out of making it – and a blog post. Please be warned we were all tired and on a sugar high. We do not suggest you do the same. Maybe make the dinner while sipping a gorgeous glass of wine – that would be what Maria would want!


Salt cod   Salt cod is cod that has been preserved by drying and salting. We purchased it from a local grocery store that had a seafood department. The cod was sitting in a basket in front of the seafood counter. 

Potatoes – You can use any kind; we used the yellow fleshed potatoes. These just give it a nicer colour as you shove the delicious meal into your mouth.

Onions – Regular cooking onions will do. Be careful, though – your eyes will BURN for a lifetime afterwards.  

Paprika, Salt, Pepper, Garlic, EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)

We were making this recipe for an army – literally – so I am going to ask you to use your own discretion in regards to how much of each you use.

Step 1 – Salt cod needs to be soaked and drained in water in order to remove the salting process. Seems kinda silly since you are going to be adding salt back into the recipe, but trust me, you NEED to drain it. We suggest 24-48 hours, draining 3-4 times within that time frame, just depending on how salty you like it!

Salt Cod after it has been drained - YUMMMM

Salt cod after it has been drained – YUMMMM

TWO DAYS LATER  – I know I know, it seems like such a long time, but it is SOOOO worth it!

Step 2 – Prepare your ingredients by slicing the onions and the potatoes into rounds. We used a mandolin – not the small guitar-like instrument, but the vegetable slicer – there is a difference. I suggest you not go to Target like we did and run around the store making comments about the ridiculous price of some mandolins and the difference between the slicers and the guitars. Actually, scratch that. Don’t go to Target with two deliriously tired sisters while you yourself are tired and try to purchase anything. You will buy candy, pizza…and make friends with mean ladies in Echos…but I digress…back to the cod!

Mandolin - another tool on the list of tools Julia is not allowed to use.... oye

Mandolin – another tool on the list of tools Julia is not allowed to use…oy.

Our onions and potatoes

Our onions and potatoes…pay no attention to the large amount of candy…focus on the potatoes and onions.

FUN FACT – Onions make you cry. I know it’s not that fun and you all probably know about it, but what I bet you didn’t know is that those damn onions and their potent stench and burn TRAVEL!!! YEAH, that’s right, TRAVEL! Travel between rooms and across tables…seriously.

Tears... not happy ones, even though we look happy!

Tears…not happy ones, even though we look happy!

delirious...  they BURN people!!!

Delirious…they BURN people!!!

When you are cutting up all of your ingredients, you should probably have some kind of muscle around. We had Ben 🙂 He attacked our garlic, helped with the onion, listened to our insane midnight babble and tried to ignore the fact that he is stuck in this family and willingly married into it. MWAHAHAHAHAHA!

Ben - our muscle..

Ben – our resident muscle

Step 3 – Now that you have all your ingredients, it’s time to put them in the pan. You can use a glass casserole dish, which we would normally use, but since we were cooking for three families, we used a large portable oven. At this point you should probably preheat your oven to 350 F.

Now to create the deliciousness!!! Drizzle some EVOO on the bottom of the pan in order to try and stop any potatoes from burning.

EVOO - Extra virgin olive oil

EVOO – Extra virgin olive oil

Next take some potatoes and line the dish with the sliced potatoes standing up, then adding some onion, then a hunk of cod. Once you get in the groove, it gets easier. Just repeat the pattern. Try to put one side of the salt cod against onion, so that the flavours infuse…oooo I’m getting fancy!

Cod, onion, potato, cod, onion potato, cod, onion, potato.... and so on

Cod, onion, potato, cod, onion potato, cod, onion, potato…and so on

Continue the pattern until you have no more room! YUM YUM YUM!!!!!

Chop up your garlic. We used a whole head, but you only need about three to four cloves. Sprinkle them over the dish, trying to spread them out as much as possible.

Garlic - another Laurentino favorite

Garlic – another Laurentino favourite

Drizzle more of the golden juice from the olive gods all over pretty liberally. However, if you are using a glass dish, make sure you have some kind of drip tray under the dish when you put in into the oven, or else your oven will start to smoke, and you will have to explain to Cody that it was an accident, and it’s being taken care of as smoke billows out of the oven behind you. You will have to open up all the windows, and at this time of year, it’s not ideal!




President’s Choice Smoked Paprika

Now, to season this dish! We used sea salt and pepper. Shake and sprinkle and season to your own liking. We also used smoked paprika, President’s Choice brand! Again, use it liberally, but to your own taste!


Cover your dish in tin foil – this will help make the onions and the potatoes go soft and melt together. Throw it in the oven…okay, don’t actually throw it…place it in the oven for about 45 minutes to an hour. Check after an hour with a fork and push it into the potatoes – you want them to just fall apart. If there is any tension while poking them, cook them another 15 minutes.

Serve with a sprinkle of vinegar and you are good to ENJOY! Seriously soooo good!

Try it and let us know how you like it! From our kitchen to yours with love – Happy cooking!

Happy cooking, ladies!

Happy cooking, ladies!

~ Jacqui

Salt cod and potatoes (Bacalhau à Gomes De Sà) - WVS Style

  • Servings: 1 glass 9x13 casserole dish, or 1 roaster oven, your choice!
  • Difficulty: worth the effort
  • Print


salt cod
salt and pepper to taste
EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
smoked paprika


Soak salt cod in cold water in a bowl in the fridge for 24 to 48 hours, changing out water 3 to 4 times. Drain and set aside in a bowl. Wash and peel potatoes, then slice using a mandolin to make rounds. Set aside in another bowl. Peel onions, then slice using a mandolin to make rounds. Set aside in another bowl. Chop garlic and place into a fourth bowl. Cut salt cod into chunks about the same size as the potato pieces. Put back in its bowl. Preheat oven to 350°F. Drizzle EVOO over the bottom of the cooking dish. Arrange potatoes, onions, and cod pieces into dish, standing them up on one end, creating rows of a repeating pattern. If possible, put onion pieces on either side of potatoes and cod. Sprinkle garlic pieces all over the casserole. Drizzle with more EVOO. Season with salt, pepper and smoked paprika, to taste. Cover with foil and put in oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Casserole is finished when potatoes are fork tender. Serve with a bit of vinegar, if you’d like. Enjoy!