Bacalao Al Pil Pil: A Taste Of The Basque Country

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Bacalao pil pil is a classic tapas dish from the Basque region of Spain. It features melt-in-your-mouth codfish cooked in a rich and flavorful olive oil, garlic, and chili pepper sauce. This recipe is deceptively simple, requiring minimal ingredients and coming together in under 30 minutes.

Here’s everything you need to know to create this mouthwatering dish at home:

Spanish Cod With Pil Pil Sauce
Spanish Cod With Pil Pil Sauce


¾ lb high-quality dried codfish (soaked overnight, desalted)

  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 4 dried red chili peppers (adjust to your spice preference)
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish (optional)

  • Directions:

    1. Prepare the codfish: Flake the soaked codfish into bite-sized pieces, removing any remaining skin or bones. Rinse the codfish gently under cold water to remove any excess salt. Pat the codfish dry with paper towels.

    2. Heat the olive oil: In a large skillet or pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.

    3. Sauté the garlic and chili peppers: Add the sliced garlic and chili peppers to the hot oil. Sauté for 2-3 minutes, until the garlic becomes fragrant and slightly golden brown. Be careful not to burn the garlic, as it can turn bitter.

    4. Introduce the codfish: Gently add the flaked codfish to the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the codfish is heated through and slightly opaque.

    5. Season and simmer: Season the mixture with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for an additional 5 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld.

    6. Serve and enjoy: Remove the pan from heat and drizzle with any remaining olive oil from the bottom of the pan. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley, if desired. Serve immediately with crusty bread for scooping up the delicious sauce.

    Nutrition Facts (per serving):

    This recipe yields approximately 4 servings. Please note that these are approximate values and may vary depending on the specific ingredients used.

    Calories: 450

  • Fat: 35g
  • Saturated Fat: 8g
  • Cholesterol: 70mg
  • Sodium: 500mg (depending on salt used)
  • Carbohydrates: 5g
  • Protein: 40g

  • Conclusion:

    Bacalao pil pil is a delightful and versatile dish. It can be enjoyed as a tapas appetizer, a light lunch, or even a hearty dinner when paired with additional sides. With its simple yet flavorful ingredients, this recipe is sure to become a favorite in your kitchen.

    Frequently Asked Questions:

    1. Can I use fresh codfish instead of dried? Yes, you can substitute fresh codfish for dried codfish. However, you won’t need to soak it beforehand. Simply cut the fresh codfish into bite-sized pieces and follow the recipe as instructed. Be mindful that fresh codfish may cook a bit faster than dried codfish, so adjust the cooking time accordingly.

    2. How spicy is this recipe? The spice level of this recipe can be adjusted to your preference. The recipe uses dried red chili peppers, which add a subtle heat. If you prefer a spicier dish, you can add more chili peppers or use a spicier variety.

    3. What kind of olive oil should I use? Extra virgin olive oil is the best choice for this recipe as it adds a rich flavor to the dish. However, you can also use a lighter olive oil if you prefer.

    4. What can I serve with bacalao pil pil? Bacalao pil pil can be enjoyed on its own, but it also pairs well with a variety of side dishes. Crusty bread is a classic accompaniment, perfect for scooping up the flavorful sauce. You can also serve it with roasted vegetables, rice, or a simple green salad.

    5. Can I make this recipe ahead of time? While bacalao pil pil is best enjoyed fresh, you can make it ahead of time and reheat it gently before serving. However, keep in mind that the codfish may become slightly tougher upon reheating.