Savory Salt Cod with Onion Recipe: A Taste of Portugal

Dear food lovers,

I am thrilled to present to you a recipe that brings a touch of Portugal into your kitchen. It is the Salt Cod with Onions, White Wine, and Cabbage Recipe – a traditional Portuguese dish popularly known as Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá.

This recipe is perfect for those who are looking for unique and exotic ways to elevate their seafood game. The hearty and comforting flavors of the salt cod and vegetables, coupled with aromatic white wine, make this dish simply delicious.

The method of cooking also adds depth of flavor to the fish: pan-searing or sautéing it in olive oil until golden brown on the outside while still moist inside.

In this recipe article, I will guide you through the process of making this iconic dish like a pro. From choosing the right ingredients to preparing it ahead of time or pairing it with complementary sides, everything you need to know about this recipe will be covered.

So why not try something new today? Join me on this culinary journey and experience the flavors of Portugal in your own home.


Your dedicated sommelier.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Salt Cod With Onions, White Wine and Cabbage
Salt Cod With Onions, White Wine and Cabbage

Dear foodie friends,

Are you looking for a recipe that not only tastes delicious but is also healthy and simple to prepare? Look no further! I have here a fantastic recipe that will satisfy all your cravings: Salt Cod with Onions, White Wine, and Cabbage.

Firstly, let me tell you that this dish is absolutely bursting with flavor. The combination of salty cod, sweet onions, and tender cabbage cooked in white wine creates an explosion of taste in every bite. Trust me; your taste buds will be begging for more!

Secondly, this dish is not only tasty but also very healthy. Salted cod is an excellent source of protein and low in saturated fat, making it ideal for anyone trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Cabbage itself is rich in vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, K and calcium, which are essential for strengthening the immune system.

Lastly, the best part about this recipe is how easy it is to make. All you need are a few ingredients from your pantry including salt cod (which can be easily found at any grocery store), onions, cabbage, white wine, olive oil and a few other staple ingredients. Simply prepare everything as per the instructions – it’s as simple as that!

In conclusion, Salt Cod with Onions, White Wine, and Cabbage is a delectable dish that will impress anyone who tries it. It’s simple to prepare, healthy and packed with flavors you will love. You won’t regret giving this recipe a go!

Ingredient List

 A taste of Portugal on your plate!
A taste of Portugal on your plate!

Ingredient List

Here are the ingredients you will need for this salt cod with onions, white wine, and cabbage recipe:

  • 1 1/2 lbs salted cod fish (bacalhau or bacalao)
  • 4 cups cool water
  • 2 lbs onions, finely sliced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
  • 3/4 lb small green cabbage, cut into thin shreds
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Boiling potatoes
  • Hard-boiled eggs

The Recipe How-To

 This salt cod recipe is sure to impress.
This salt cod recipe is sure to impress.

Step-by-Step Guide to Cooking Portuguese Salt Cod Stew

  1. Remove salt from cod: Soak 2 lbs of dried salt cod in cool water for 24 hours to remove salt.
  2. Prepare the ingredients: Finely chop 2 lbs onions, set aside. Cut 1 ½ lbs boiling potatoes into small cubes (about 1cm). Cut 1 small green cabbage into strips and separate hard leaves from soft leaves.
  3. Boil potatoes and cabbage: In a pot, boil potatoes and hard cabbage leaves together for about 10 minutes, then add the soft cabbage leaves and boil for another 5 minutes or until everything is cooked. Drain and set aside.
  4. Pan sear the cod fillets: Heat a pan with olive oil over medium heat, pat dry the fish fillets, season with salt and pepper, then place them in the pan skin side down. Cook for about 3-4 minutes on each side until golden brown outside and cooked tender inside. Transfer to a plate.
  5. Sauté the onions and cabbage: In the same pan, sauté finely chopped onions until caramelized, then add green cabbage strips and stir fry for another minute.
  6. Add wine: Pour in 1/2 cup of dry white wine to deglaze the pan.
  7. Combine all ingredients: Add boiled potatoes, cabbage mixture, and hard-boiled eggs; then toss until everything is well combined.
  8. Sprinkle some Piri-Piri sauce: Season with Piri-Piri sauce to taste.
  9. Garnish: Finally, sprinkle chopped parsley over the top to garnish.

Enjoy your Portuguese Salt Cod Stew!

Substitutions and Variations

 Elevate your dinner game with salt cod, onions, white wine, and cabbage.
Elevate your dinner game with salt cod, onions, white wine, and cabbage.

Although this recipe calls for salt cod, there are several alternatives that can be used. A popular option is to substitute the salted cod with fresh white fish such as cod or haddock to create a delicious stew recipe. Cod fillets can also be pan seared for a fresh twist on the recipe.

For those who prefer not to use fish, you can substitute it with pepper shrimp, manila clams or even bacon for added flavor. The dish can also be made vegetarian by using a vegetable broth as a base and adding mushrooms and chickpeas.

Instead of the classic combination of cabbage and onions with white wine, try substituting the vegetables with red cabbage and add a dash of red wine to enhance its earthy flavor. You can also add a tomato-basil sauce or caramelized cabbage for an extra layer of depth.

If you want to make baccala stew (a Portuguese salt cod stew) try adding potatoes and sliced green peppers for a variation on the traditional recipe. Finally, consider adding hard boiled eggs or parsley to cater towards personal taste preferences.

Regardless of substitutes or variations, it is important to ensure the recipe proportions are maintained to ensure perfect results.

Serving and Pairing

 The perfect combination of savory and sweet - salt cod with onions, white wine, and cabbage.
The perfect combination of savory and sweet – salt cod with onions, white wine, and cabbage.

There are some fabulous food pairings for this Salt Cod with Onions, White Wine and Cabbage Recipe.

Firstly, I highly suggest serving this dish with a glass of dry white wine. Not only does the wine add a lovely layer of flavor to the recipe, but it also complements the saltiness of the cod perfectly.

If you’re looking to elevate your meal even further, you could try pairing this salt cod stew with a side of boiled potatoes. The combination of the creamy potatoes and the tender cod is simply divine.

Another option is cabbage salad. The cool crunch of fresh leaves and acidity in the vinaigrette could help cut through the very intense flavors found in the stew.

For a more autumnal alternative that provides striking contrasting flavors, sautéed or caramelized red cabbage can bring out sweetness on this salty dish. A glass of red wine will also work well as it turns out that full-bodied red wines actually pair quite well with salt cod.

Also, given how versatile salted cod is, you might want to broil some cod fillets and serve them with piri-piri sauce for a different spin on Portuguese-style fish.

All in all, with those suggestions, you should be able to find something that suits your taste preference as they go really well together with this delicious Salt Cod Stew recipe.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Fresh from the sea, salt cod is deliciously versatile.
Fresh from the sea, salt cod is deliciously versatile.

The salt cod with onions, white wine and cabbage recipe can be conveniently made ahead of time to save you precious moments during mealtime gatherings. Should you decide to make it ahead, simply prepare the recipe up to the point of cooking the salt cod in olive oil. Once the cod is pan-seared, remove it from the heat and allow it to cool down before storing in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

When ready to serve, reheat the salted cod by placing it in a preheated oven at 350°F (180°C) for about 10-15 minutes until heated through. Be careful not to overcook the fish as this may result in a dry texture.

Steamed cabbage can also be prepared up to 1 day ahead. To do so, cook sliced cabbage in boiling water until tender, then transfer to a colander and run under cool water for a few seconds. Once cooled, store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use.

If you have any leftovers, they can be stored refrigerated for up to 3 days. To reheat leftovers, gently reheat them in the microwave or in a skillet over medium heat until heated through.

This dish reheats well and maintains its flavors even after being stored in the refrigerator, making it an excellent choice for meal prep or serving for guests.

Tips for Perfect Results

 Enjoy a taste of the ocean with this classic salt cod recipe.
Enjoy a taste of the ocean with this classic salt cod recipe.

To get the best results with this salt cod recipe, it’s essential to follow these tips:

1. Soak the salt cod for 24 hours

Before cooking the salt cod, soak it in cool water for 24 hours. Change the water about every six hours to remove excess salt from the fish.

2. Pan-sear the cod for extra flavor

To add more flavor to your dish, pan-sear the cod before cooking it with onions and cabbage. Sear both sides of the fish in olive oil until browned.

3. Use a dry white wine

Dry white wine is best suited for this recipe because it will not overpower the other ingredients. It also enhances flavors without making the dish too acidic.

4. Add boiling potatoes to bulk up the meal

Boiling potatoes are an excellent addition to this recipe as they provide a balance to the saltiness of the cod and add bulk to the meal.

5. Give cabbage time to caramelize

Cooking cabbage in a pan for a good amount of time will create a caramelized outer layer and tender inside, adding texture and deliciousness to your dish.

By following these easy tips, you can ensure that your salt cod stew is flavorful and perfectly cooked every time!


Before we finish with this recipe article, I wanted to share some frequently asked questions that might help you prepare this dish. From how to remove the salt from the cod to what substitutions you can use, these answers will come in handy when making this salt cod with onions, white wine, and cabbage recipe.

What white wine goes best with salt cod?

When it comes to pairing wine with seafood, my go-to choice is usually a refreshing and light white wine like a picpoul or an albarino. However, there are situations where a red or rosé can be just as enjoyable. While it’s common to pair vinho verde with seafood, I personally prefer a young Douro white that’s been kissed by oak, or even a white rioja for a less conventional experience.

How long should salted cod be soaked?

Preparing salt cod requires an essential step of soaking, which should not be overlooked. Soaking for 24 hours, as some recipes suggest, may not be enough and could leave the fish overly salty. It’s recommended to soak for around 48 hours to ensure the best results for your dishes.

Why do you soak salted cod?

For those who haven’t encountered salt cod before, seeing boxes of it in fish markets may trigger concerns about health risks. However, this perception could not be further from the truth. Prior to consumption, the salted fish fillets undergo a soaking process that spans over 24 hours, consisting of multiple rounds of cool water baths. As a consequence, much of the salt is removed in this process.

Should you salt cod before cooking?

Before cooking, it is essential to remove the salt from the salted cod. Soak it in a bowl of cold water and let it soak for 24 hours, changing the water three or four times. If you’re pressed for time, you can use the quick soak method.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, this recipe for Salt Cod with Onions, White Wine, and Cabbage is a must-try for seafood lovers. The combination of flavors in this dish is nothing short of amazing, and it’s sure to impress all who try it.

Whether you are a seasoned home cook or just starting out in the kitchen, this dish is easy to make and requires few ingredients. So why not take a step out of your comfort zone and try something new? I guarantee that this dish won’t disappoint.

The best part about this recipe is that it’s versatile – you can adjust the seasoning to your liking, serve with different sides like boiled potatoes or steamed cabbage, and even substitute the salt cod with a firm-fleshed white fish like cod fillets.

So what are you waiting for? Gather up the ingredients, soak the salted cod for 24 hours, and get cooking! Your taste buds will thank you.

Salt Cod With Onions, White Wine and Cabbage

Salt Cod With Onions, White Wine and Cabbage Recipe

Bacalhau a Moda de Viana. Bacalhau (salt-preserved cod) is a traditional ingredient originally found in Spanish and Portuguese cuisine, but today also found in Brazilian and Italian cuisine. This form of cod made the long journeys of the Portuguese Explorers of the 15th-16th centuries possible. If your city has a Hispanic or Italian market, odds are you can find it ... if not, you can substitute any fresh, firm-fleshed white fish, although the flavor will be different. Before using, you need to "reconstitute" (desalt and rehydrate) the bacalhau, by soaking in water for 24-48 hours, changing the water every 12-24 hours. Some people choose to do the last reconstitution with milk. NOTE THAT THE SOAKING TIME IS NOT INCLUDED IN THE PREP TIME GIVEN BELOW. Another very traditional aspect to this recipe is the sauteed onion, called a cebollada, the most important flavoring of the Portuguese kitchen. In the Lisbon waterfront there is a restaurant, La Casa du Bacalhau, and as you might imagine, most of the dishes (including appetizers and even one dessert) are made with Bacalhau! I had a version of this dish there. This recipe is from the port of Viana de Castelo, in the Duoro region, and is based on the recipe in "The Food of Spain and Portugal" by Elisabeth Luard and was submitted for Zaar World Tour 5 (2009).
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Prep Time 45 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 20 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Portuguese
Calories 985.1 kcal


  • 1 1/2 lbs dried salt cod fish (or (substitute 4 thick steaks of any fresh, firm-fleshed white fish)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 lbs onions, finely sliced (about 6-7 medium onions)
  • 1 green cabbage
  • 2 lbs boiling potatoes, also called waxy potatoes, peeled and thickly sliced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine, traditional Portuguese is vinho verde
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, estimated, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper, estimated to taste
  • 1 teaspoon parsley, optional as a garnish
  • 1 teaspoon piri-piri, optional as a garnish (can be store bought or many recipes already in Recipezaar)


  • If using salt-cod, cut into 4 pieces and reconstitute as described in the Introduction; don't drain or dry the fish when done.
  • If using fresh fish (4 steaks), rinse, lightly salt, and leave in a colander for 1-2 hours.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • In a medium-size (at least 10-12 inch diameter) frying pan, warm up the olive oil, then add the onions to sautee for about 30 minutes; you want golden, not brown, and soft; this is a basic cebollata (see Intro).
  • Keep the cebollata warm (lowest stove top setting).
  • Prepare the cabbage by trimming and removing four of the largest and most perfect outside leaves; cut out the thick, stiff stem at the base of each leaf.
  • Use a heavy knife to flatten the leaves and make them more pliable.
  • Shred the heart of the cabbage and set it aside for now.
  • Wrap each of the 4 pieces of fish in a cabbage leaf.
  • Lay the wrapped fish on a baking tray, put in the oven, and bake for 20-30 minutes, "until the wrappers are as dry and brown as tobacco leaves".
  • While the fish are cooking, prepare the potatoes as follows:.
  • Put a medium-sized covered pan (big enough to hold the potatoes and the shredded cabbage) on the stove top and put in the potatoes.
  • Add the wine and enough water to cover and cook (medium heat) for about 10 minutes.
  • Remove the cover, add the shredded cabbage, and cover tightly to let the cabbage steam (turn up the heat a bit if necessary).
  • Cook until the potatoes are tender, probably a total of 15-20 minutes.
  • Remove the potatoes and cabbage with a slotted spoon to your serving dish.
  • Add the cooking juices from the potato/cabbage pot into the cebollata in the frying pan, taste and season, then increase the heat to reduce the liquid until you have a thick rich sauce.
  • Pour the sauce over the potato and cabbage base.
  • Remove the fish from the oven, place them on the potato and cabbage base and open the wrappers.
  • Optionally, garnish with parsley and piri piri.
  • Enjoy!

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 895gCalories: 985.1kcalCarbohydrates: 82.3gProtein: 116.5gFat: 18.2gSaturated Fat: 2.8gCholesterol: 258.6mgSodium: 12302.2mgFiber: 12.6gSugar: 20.1g
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