If you want to make a delicious and traditional Mexican dish this Christmas, then this recipe is for you. I promise you that this bacalao a la Vizcaína is one of the most delicious cod dishes you will ever try, and I can say this with confidence because my family has made this recipe for generations. I paired it with a side of potatoes, cactus and mole because I use any excuse to cook with nopales (cactus pads).
It may seem like a lot of potatoes since the cod also has potatoes, but the tastes are completely different, and you’ll be grateful when it’s time for leftovers. To me, bacalao is as Mexican as it gets, but like many traditional Mexican recipes, it originated from the Basque region of Spain and was adapted to Mexican cuisine. Our version has more ingredients.
To make this dish you’ll need a large caldero(casserole). I used a large one because I was making bacalao for a large gathering; it’s a good quality, versatile product that’s incredibly non-stick and durable. The tradition in Mexico is for the cod to never leave the caldero, so you can keep reheating its leftovers as you reheat, and reheat.
The cod tastes even better the day after, and the day after that. Honestly, you could prepare the recipe the day before your Noche Buena dinner; that way, you won’t have to do as much work on the holiday and it tastes even better. Everyone wins!
Bacalao a la Vizcaína
- 2 LBS COD
- 8 CUPS MILK
- 50 OZ. EXTRA-VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
- 3 CUPS WATER
- 4 CLOVES GARLIC PEELED AND CHOPPED
- 4 LARGE ONIONS MINCED
- 2 LBS TOMATOES RIPE, ROASTED, SKINLESS AND CHOPPED INTO LARGE SQUARES
- 5 CUPS TOMATO PUREE
- 2 CUPS CANNED RED PEPPER CHOPPED INTO STRIPS
- 2 CUPS PARSLEY FINELY CHOPPED
- SALT TO TASTE
- PEPPER TO TASTE
- 2 CUPS OLIVES STUFFED WITH RED PEPPER
- 2 CUPS ALMONDS SLICED
- 2 CUPS PINE NUTS
- 1 CUP CAPERS
- 2 LBS CAMBRAY POTATOES OR BABY POTATOES OF YOUR CHOICE
- 2 CANS PICKLED JALAPEÑOS
- 2 LEMONS JUICED
Potatoes, Nopales and Mole
- 2 LBS CAMBRAY POTATOES OR BABY POTATOES OF YOUR CHOICE, CUT IN HALVES
- 2 CUPS CASHEWS
- 10 STRIPS NOPALES FRESH
- 1 CLOVE GARLIC
- 4 CUPS CHICKEN BROTH
- 1 1/2 CUPS MOLE PASTE
- SALT TO TASTE
- PEPPER TO TASTE
- BACALAO a la VIZCAINA Soak the cod fish the night before in 4 cups of milk to remove excess salt. Change the milk 2 times. Leave soaking overnight in water.
- Drain the fish. Shred into pieces and remove any thorns that you run into while shredding with your hands; there should not be too many.
- Add the olive oil to a big and deep casserole over medium heat.
- Cook the garlic and onion in the oil, and as soon as they become transparent add the tomatoes, puree, and red peppers, and cook about 30 minutes until the sauce is thick. Add the parsley and wine, cover, lower heat, and let simmer for 30 minutes more.
- Add salt and pepper to taste, olives, almonds, pine nuts, capers, potatoes cut into quarters, and pieces of cod.
- Cook covered for 1 hour. (You can start to prepare your mole at this point!)
- Add the pickled jalapeños. Serve and garnish with strips of canned red bell pepper.
- Add freshly squeezed lemon juice to the plate and enjoy.
- POTATOES, CACTUS, AND MOLE Place the potatoes in a deep pot, fill with water until the potatoes are covered, and cook over medium-high heat for about 20 to 25 minutes.
- Allow potatoes to cool.
- Place the cashews in a food processor and pulse until the cashews have been reduced to smaller pieces, but not quite powdered.
- Cook the nopales with the clove of garlic, in the chicken broth, over medium heat until tender.
- Mix in the mole paste. Boil for 3 or 4 minutes. Add the potatoes and the nopales that you previously cooked, reduce heat to medium and cook for 20 minutes. Add the cashews last.
Enjoy with the bacalao. ¡Felices fiestas!