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Salted Cod Veracruz-Style

The Christmas and New Year holidays are a time filled with family traditions and a lot of food. In many cases, the food itself is a big tradition, like in the case of Salted Cod Veracruz Style, commonly known as Bacalao in Mexico.
Course Basic Recipes
Cuisine Mexican
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 10
Calories 411kcal


  • 2 lbs. Salted Cod bone-in (if using boneless, you only need 1½ lb.)
  • 1 large white onion
  • ¼ cup olive or vegetable oil
  • cup almonds
  • 1 Ancho pepper with veins and seeds removed
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 3 garlic cloves chopped
  • 3 roasted red bell peppers *
  • lbs. tomatoes roasted
  • 1 lb. potatoes peeled and cut into ¾ inch cubes
  • ¾ cup stuffed olives drained
  • 2 tbsp. capers rinsed and drained
  • 6 Pepperoncini or pickled jalapeño peppers **
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Parsley to garnish


  • One or two days before cooking the dried codfish, place it a large bowl and cover it with water to soak. This step will soften the fish. Change the water at least 2 times during the soaking period, this will help to remove the saltiness.
  • On cooking day, drain the soaking water from the bowl, then rinse the fish at least 4 times. It is very important that you rinse it several times to remove the saltiness.
  • Fill a pot or large skillet with water, then add the fish and half an onion. Turn the heat to medium and cook. Immediately after it starts boiling, remove the pan from the heat. Once it cools off, remove the bones and slightly shred the fish meat.
  • While the fish is cooking, soak the almonds in a small bowl with hot water for 20 minutes to remove their skins.
  • Also while the fish is cooking and cooling, lightly roast the Ancho pepper on a griddle and then soak it in hot water for 20 minutes to soften. Take advantage to also roast the tomatoes and precook the potatoes.
  • To pre-cook the potatoes, place them in a saucepan with cold water. Turn the heat to medium-high, and once it starts boiling, cook for 2 minutes and then remove from heat. The potatoes will still be undercooked but don’t worry, they will finish cooking with the rest of the stew.
  • Now, in a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of oil, and use it to fry the almonds until they have a light golden color.
  • Place the fried almonds, roasted tomatoes, softened Ancho pepper, 1 roasted bell pepper, 2 whole cloves, 3 garlic cloves, and ½ diced onion in a blender. Process until you have a very smooth sauce. Set aside.
  • Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan then add the cod and sauté for 5-8 minutes; this step will add more flavors to the whole dish. After sautéing the fish, remove it from the skillet and set aside.
  • Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil to the frying pan and heat it to medium-high. Pour in the blended sauce along with 2 cups of water, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Gently cook the sauce for about 10 minutes, stirring from time to time.
  • Finally, add the fish and the potatoes to the sauce. Cook for five more minutes, and then stir in the roasted red bell peppers (cut into strips), olives, capers, and the pickled peppers.
  • Keep cooking for 20 more minutes on a very low heat, allowing it to gently simmer (this will help merge all the flavors together). If the stew seems too dry for you, add a little more water. Season the stew with pepper and salt if needed, but remember that the fish was quite salty, to begin with. Serve with white bread (“bolillo”).


  • The saltiness of the fish cod varies from brand to brand, so before you starting cooking the fish, taste a little piece to see if it needs more soaking time or rinsing. If you feel that it is still too salty, soak the fish for another day.
  • This dish tastes better is made one of two days in advance.
  • *For the roasted bell peppers, we like to use the canned or jarred version.
  • * *The traditional pepper used for this dish is not easily found here in the United States, but you can use pickled jalapeños or pepperoncini as a substitute.
  • Bacalao- Salted Cod use to be cooked in a clay pot and served in the same pot to the table, the cook wrapped a kitchen napking around it.


Calories: 411kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 61g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 138mg | Sodium: 6778mg | Potassium: 1799mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1645IU | Vitamin C: 28.5mg | Calcium: 194mg | Iron: 4.6mg