Ensalada de Bacalao Recipe from Spain with Salted Cod and Potatoes

Ensalada de Bacalao

Ensalada de Bacalao Recipe from Spain with Salted Cod and Potatoes
Region / culture: Spain | Preparation time: 30 minutes | Cooking time: 1 hour | Servings: 6


Ensalada de Bacalao
Ensalada de Bacalao

Ensalada de Bacalao, or Salted Codfish Salad, is a traditional Spanish dish that is popular in many Latin American countries as well. This refreshing and flavorful salad is perfect for a light lunch or as a side dish for a larger meal.


The origins of Ensalada de Bacalao can be traced back to Spain, where salted codfish has been a staple ingredient for centuries. The salad was created as a way to use up leftover codfish and other ingredients in a simple yet delicious dish.


How to prepare

  1. Rinse the codfish under cold running water and allow it to soak overnight in a covered bowl or pot. Make sure the bowl or pot is large enough to accommodate the expansion of the fish.
  2. On the following day, rinse the codfish once again and place it in a pot with enough cold water to cover it. Place the pot on the stove and bring it to a boil. Then, lower the heat and let it simmer for about 1 hour. During this time, change the water twice to remove the salt. Continue cooking until the fish is tender and flaky. Remove the fish from the pot, set it aside, and allow it to cool.
  3. The secret to this salad is to keep changing the water to remove as much salt from the fish as possible. Remember, you are the final judge of how much salt you want to remain on the fish.
  4. Rub garlic in a large salad bowl, making sure to cover all sides.
  5. Flake the codfish into nice bite-sized pieces and place them into the salad bowl to create a layer. Add the other ingredients, except for the olive oil, vinegar, and hard-boiled eggs, to make another layer. Repeat this process until all the ingredients have been used.
  6. Combine the olive oil and vinegar, and pour the dressing over the salad. Toss the salad until all the ingredients are coated with the dressing.
  7. Add sliced eggs and fold them in carefully to avoid breaking the yolks. Garnish with red pimientos.


  • Add diced bell peppers or cucumbers for extra crunch and flavor.
  • Substitute black olives for Spanish olives for a different taste.
  • Mix in some chopped fresh herbs like parsley or cilantro for a burst of freshness.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

Soaking the codfish overnight and changing the water multiple times helps to remove excess salt and ensure a milder flavor.

- Boiling the codfish until tender and flaky is key to achieving the perfect texture for this salad.

- Adding the ingredients in layers helps to evenly distribute the flavors and dressing throughout the salad.

- Tossing the salad gently after adding the dressing helps to coat all the ingredients without breaking them.

Serving Suggestions

Ensalada de Bacalao can be served as a light lunch with some crusty bread or as a side dish with grilled meats or seafood.

Cooking Techniques

Boiling the codfish until tender and flaky.

- Layering the ingredients in the salad bowl for even distribution of flavors.

- Tossing the salad gently after adding the dressing to coat all the ingredients.

Ingredient Substitutions

Use fresh codfish instead of salted codfish if preferred.

- Substitute red wine vinegar for a different flavor profile.

- Use green olives instead of Spanish olives for a twist on the traditional recipe.

Make Ahead Tips

Ensalada de Bacalao can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. Just add the hard-boiled eggs and garnish with red pimientos before serving.

Presentation Ideas

Serve Ensalada de Bacalao in a large salad bowl or on individual plates garnished with red pimientos for a pop of color.

Pairing Recommendations

Ensalada de Bacalao pairs well with a crisp white wine or a light beer. It also goes well with grilled meats, seafood, or a simple pasta dish.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Store any leftover Ensalada de Bacalao in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

Each serving of Ensalada de Bacalao contains approximately 350 calories.


Each serving of Ensalada de Bacalao contains approximately 20 grams of carbohydrates.


Each serving of Ensalada de Bacalao contains approximately 25 grams of fats.


Each serving of Ensalada de Bacalao contains approximately 15 grams of proteins.

Vitamins and minerals

Ensalada de Bacalao is rich in vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium, and iron.


Ensalada de Bacalao contains fish (codfish) and eggs, which may be allergens for some individuals.


Ensalada de Bacalao is a nutritious dish that provides a good balance of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, and minerals.


Ensalada de Bacalao is a delicious and nutritious salad that is easy to make and perfect for a light lunch or as a side dish. With its layers of flavors and textures, this salad is sure to be a hit at your next meal.

How did I get this recipe?

I can still recall the sense of amazement I felt when I first saw this recipe for Ensalada de Bacalao. It was many years ago, back when I was just a young girl living in a small village in Spain. My grandmother, who was known for her incredible cooking skills, had graciously offered to teach me some of her most prized recipes.

One day, as we were flipping through her worn and stained recipe book, she came across a page that was marked with a faded yellow post-it note. "Ah, here it is," she said with a twinkle in her eye. "Ensalada de Bacalao."

I had never heard of this dish before, but the ingredients listed - salt cod, tomatoes, onions, olives, and parsley - sounded intriguing. My grandmother explained that it was a traditional Spanish salad made with salted cod that had been soaked to remove the excess saltiness. She told me that it was a popular dish in coastal regions of Spain, where salt cod was a staple ingredient.

I watched in awe as my grandmother expertly prepared the salt cod, carefully removing the bones and skin before flaking it into bite-sized pieces. She then diced the tomatoes and onions, chopped the olives, and finely minced the parsley. As she mixed everything together in a large bowl, the vibrant colors and fresh aromas filled the air, making my mouth water in anticipation.

Once the salad was assembled, my grandmother drizzled it with a simple dressing made of olive oil, vinegar, garlic, and a pinch of salt. She explained that the flavors needed time to meld together, so she covered the bowl and placed it in the refrigerator to chill for a few hours.

As we sat down to eat later that day, I took my first bite of Ensalada de Bacalao and was immediately transported to a seaside café in Spain. The combination of the tender salt cod, juicy tomatoes, briny olives, and fragrant parsley was a revelation. It was a perfect balance of flavors and textures that danced on my taste buds with every bite.

From that day on, Ensalada de Bacalao became one of my favorite dishes to make and share with family and friends. Whenever I prepare it, I am reminded of that special moment in my grandmother's kitchen when I first learned how to make it. The recipe holds a special place in my heart, not just because of its delicious taste, but because of the memories and traditions that it represents.

Over the years, I have made some modifications to the original recipe, adding my own twist with ingredients like roasted red peppers, capers, and fresh herbs. Each time I prepare it, I think of my grandmother and the legacy of culinary knowledge that she passed down to me.

As I look back on that day in my grandmother's kitchen, I am filled with gratitude for the gift of her recipes and the time we spent together cooking and sharing meals. The recipe for Ensalada de Bacalao will always hold a special place in my heart, a reminder of my roots and the rich culinary heritage that has shaped my love for cooking.


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