The origin of the Bacalhau com Natas is unclear but it’s most likely the popular variation of a quite similar recipe created in the 1930’s by Mestre João Ribeiro called ‘Bacalhau à Conde da Guarda’.


The original along with other minor differences uses mash potato instead of fried diced potatoes. Like in all Portuguese cod recipes it uses salted cod which can be difficult to source in some parts of the world but fresh cod can be used without disappointment. Please note that if you’re using salted cod this needs to be previously soaked in water to removed excess salt (add link to instructions).


The Bacalhau com Natas is quite rich and should be accompanied with salad and bread for a complete traditional experience.


Ingredients (Serves 6):


  • 900g salted cod stakes (previously soaked, fresh cod can also be used)
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly chopped
  • 4 onions (approx. 300g), ring sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • small bunch fresh parsley
  • pepper, a pinch of
  • nutmeg, a pinch of
  • 500g potatoes, diced into small cubes
  • 650ml vegetable oil
  • 4 free range egg whites, whipped
  • 200ml olive oil
  • 200ml single cream
  • 500ml milk
  • 10g cornflour
  • 1tbsp bread crumbs
  • A few olives
  • 10g butter



  1. Fill a large pan with approx. 2 litres of water, add the cod making sure it’s completely submerged (if not add more water) and boil it for approx. 30 minutes;
  2. Once boiled, take the cod out of the water and leave it aside to cool down;
  3. Meanwhile, fry the potatoes in vegetable oil – just enough to make a golden crust on the outside;
  4. Once the cod has cooled off shred it; make sure you carefully remove all the skin and fish-bones;
  5. At this point pre-heat the oven at 220 ºC / 425 ºF / Gas mark 7;
  6. Using a large pan heat up the olive oil, the garlic, the onions and the bay leaves and cook it for about 5 minutes on medium heat and stirring frequently;
  7. After 5 minutes add the shredded cod, the ground pepper and a pinch of nutmeg. Give it a stir and leave it cooking on low heat for about 8 minutes;
  8. After 8 minutes add the potatoes and the cream. Stir well and leave it to cook for 5 more minutes;
  9. Finally, add the the milk, the egg whites and the cornflour (use a bit of the milk to dilute it). Stir well until the cream sauce thickens slightly. That’s the cod casserole done;
  10. Spread olive oil over the inside of a large cooking dish then pour over the previously prepared cod. Then shape it flat to the form of the dish and spread some breadcrumbs over the top. Finally add some olives and also small bits of butter;
  11. Place it in a pre-heated oven at 220 ºC / 425 ºF / Gas mark 7 and leave it to cook for 15 minutes.


E pronto! (It’s done!) Bom apetite!


Tip: Serve with a bit of parsley on top & salad.



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(5 comments on “BACALHAU COM NATAS”)

  1. Tracey Sousa

    I made this dish and it was delicious. The only thing I did differently was that I did not add that much milk and it turned out great. Thank you for the easy to follow instructions.

  2. Lisa Reis

    I love your site/videos!!!
    …just wanted to ask if you’d consider adding a ‘print recipe’ button.
    I’m just about to make this recipe, can’t wait!

    Keep up the amazing work!

    1. Carlos Fonseca

      Hi Lisa, many thanks for the nice words here and on YouTube. I’ll look into adding a ‘print recipe’ button soon. That’s a great suggestion and something that’s been overlooked. Meanwhile, if you select the recipe text and click the print option for your browser it should work. Bom apetite! :)


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