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    Bacalao a la vizcaina, How to cook bacalao Basque Recipes, Recipes, Spanish Fish Recipes 5 1 5 0

    Bacalao a la Vizcaina Recipe

    • Serves 4 people
    • Complexity Easy
    Prep time
    10 mins
    Cook time
    40 mins
    Total time
    50 mins
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    • 4 fillets of salt cod, weighing 200g each
    • 3 red onions, finely sliced
    • 10 choricero peppers soaked in warm water or 5 tbsp of choricero pepper puree
    • 1 small piece of stale bread, toasted and finely chopped
    • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • 100ml fish stock
    • Fine sea salt


    Bacalao a la Vizcaina (salt cod in Biscay sauce) is one of the old time classic salt cod recipes. Vizcaina sauce is the red sauce of Basque cooking, made exclusively from red onions and choricero pepper puree and not tomato, like many people think. This topic has created huge debates between chefs and gastronomic people in Spain for hundreds of years, does Vizcaina sauce have tomato or not? My view is that sauce was already made in Vizcaya before fresh tomatoes entered the market, so no tomato thanks. Choricero peppers are small, thin red peppers which are tied together and hung to dry. The peppers are rehydrated in warm water and the flesh scraped out to use in the sauce. You can now buy choricero pepper puree in small jars, which makes the preparation of this sauce quicker, although nothing beats freshly scrapped choricero pepper flesh. Vizcaina sauce works well with fish or meat. I like it with barbecued monkfish tails or with braised beef.


    1. Before hand, you will need to desalt the cod by placing it in a bowl and covering it with water for 48 hours. You will need to change the water three to four times each day. This will remove all the salt from the fish. Make sure you remove any bones from each cod fillet with the help of a pair of tweezers, by running your finger across the flesh and checking that all pieces are clean of any scales left on the skin.
    2. Pat dry the bacalao pieces with a tea towel and place in a shallow pan, skin side up. Cover with water and one tablespoon of the olive oil and warm the water without boiling for a couple of minutes until the bacalao releases its gelatine, you should not cook it through. Remove the bacalao carefully and set aside with some cooking juices to keep it moist, drain the cooking liquor through a fine sieve.
    3. In a medium size sauce pan, heat the rest of the olive oil, add the onions and cook on a gentle heat for 20 minutes until they are very soft.
    4. Remove the choricero peppers from the water, cut lengthways and carefully remove any seeds. Use a spoon to scrape all the flesh from the peppers into a cup.
    5. Once the onions are lightly golden, add the choricero pepper puree, chopped toasted bread and a good ladle of the bacalao cooking juices, stir well and cook on a low heat for fifteen minutes.
    6. Season the sauce with sea salt and place in a food processor or blender. Blend until fully combined, the sauce should have the consistency of a tomato sauce. If you need to thin it down slightly add more cooking liquor or fish stock.
    7. Pour the sauce over the fish and warm the sauce gently for the salt cod to finish cooking in the sauce. Serve immediately.

    Shop Ingredients

    Salt Cod Loin 400g


    Senorio de la Mesa 5L


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