"The only real stumbling block is the fear of failure. In cooking, you have got to have a what-the-hell attitude." ~ Julia Child

Ensalada de bacalao…it’s what’s for breakfast

by Julie on March 23, 2014

in Breakfast, Dinner, Lunch, Minor Miracles, Stuff the Kids Won't Eat

All I wanted was one of those little tortilla presses. Lettie told me they cost $5 at any number of Mexican supermarkets.  So I went to Superior Market here in town and asked.

Sorry, said the lady. We normally carry them but we’re out of stock. Feh. Guess I’d just have to “make due” with the $2 pack of 100 freshly made tortillas, still warm enough to steam up the bag.

But then, on the other side of the store, I noticed the salt cod. And I knew just what I’d be eating for dinner that night.

bacalao salad in tortilla

bacalao salad in a tortilla

First time I ever had salt cod (or bacalao) was on New Year’s Eve in 2000. A group of us who lived in student family housing at Berkeley got together to celebrate and wait for airplanes to fall out of the sky (remember Y2K?). Lots of merry-making. And food.

Javier, a Spaniard, made bacalao with garlic and wine sauce and something or another. I’ve dreamt of it ever since. But salt cod has never been easy to come by. I’ve made my infamous cod cakes a few times, but it’s not something normally on rotation.

And here was a freezer-full of packaged bacalao! So my trip to Superior was not in vain.

Then I got home and remembered I had to soak this overnight before I could do anything with it. OK so I wouldn’t be eating it that night.  (You have to soak it overnight and change the water two or three times or else it’s too salty to eat. )

No problemo. This gave me some time to find the right recipe. I Googled salt cod, avocado, garlic…and came upon THIS.

Ensalada ingredients

Ensalada ingredients

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 lbs. dried salted boneless salt cod
  • 1 cup whole milk (I used 2%)
  • 1 large red onion thinly sliced (I used only half a large onion…and it was a bit too much)
  • 2 to 3 scallions white and green parts, finely chopped (white and green? Did they mean spring onions? I used scallions…)
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 avocado, in slices
  • 1/2 cup halved cherry toms
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

bacalao taco

Ready for my closeup


Soak your salt cod overnight in several changes of water. Rinse, place in a large pot or skillet, then cover with one cup milk and water until it’s completely covered. Simmer for 45 minutes.

When it’s cooled enough to handle, break up into a large bowl, feeling around for any little bones to remove. Add the onions, cilantro, avocado, tomatoes and scallions. Toss

Make a marinade from the olive oil, red wine vinegar, lime juice and garlic. Salt and pepper to taste. Dress the salad.

I felt this could all benefit from a night in the fridge. Let that acid go to work on all those onions. So I covered it up and waited yet another day. This morning…

bacalao salad with tortillas

Morning salad

And? How was it? Worth the wait?

What do you think?

What do you think?

Buen Provecho!

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