Bacalhau com Natas (Cod with Cream)

There is always more time to cook on the weekends and this week’s recipe I have to share with you. It is a traditional Portuguese dish, called Bacalhau com Natas. The main ingredient is salted cod (Bacalhau, in Portuguese), mixed with potatoes and a creamy sauce. It’s hard to go wrong with these ingredients, isn’t it?

Finding salted cod is not easy here in England, but we went to Lisbon two weeks ago and I got really excited when I heard that we could bring salted cod back to Cambridge, since we were travelling within the EU. So guess what I had on my shopping list? Salted cod and Port wine.

There are several Portuguese cod recipes that I wanna try, but the first had to be Bacalhau com Natas, which is Ben’s favorite. I started searching for recipes on the internet and I came across this wonderful site called Sabor Intenso. Besides great recipes, you can also watch the videos teaching some of the recipes step by step. The only thing is that the videos are in Portuguese. So the original recipe for this post is here: Bacalhau com Natas (com Batata Frita). I totally recommend you to try.

Bacalhau com Natas (Cod with Cream)


  • 4 steaks of salted cod (about 750g)
  • 1 kg of potatoes, cubed
  • 2 medium onions, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 125ml of olive oil
  • 40g of butter
  • 40g of flour
  • 250ml of milk
  • 250ml of double cream
  • salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste
  • drops of lemon juice
  • grated cheese
  • oil to fry the potatoes


  1. Start desalting the cod two nights before you’re gonna cook it. Put the cod steaks in cold water and keep in the fridge, changing the water every 6 hours.
  2. In a saucepan with boiling water cook the cod for 5 minutes. Put just enough water to cover the cod. Transfer the cod to a plate and let it cool.
  3. Separate 200ml of the water you cooked the cod in. Once the cod is cold, remove bones, skin and shred it into chunks. Fry the potatoes and set aside.
  4. In a saucepan heat the butter. Add flour and stir well, making a roux. While stirring, slowly add the water you cooked the cod, milk and cream. Whisk well to get a very smooth sauce without any lumps. When it starts to boil, season with salt, pepper, nutmeg and a few drops of lemon. Stir and turn off the heat.
  5. In another saucepan, add the olive oil, onions, garlic and bay leaf. Stir until the onions are well cooked, starting to get a golden color. Add the chunks of cod and stir until everything is well coated. Sauté for about 2 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and mix the fried potatoes. Add 2/3 of the bechamel sauce, mix well and turn of the heat.
  6. Brush an ovenproof dish with olive oil, place the cod making an even layer. Spread the remaining of the sauce on the top and cover with shredded cheese. Put in a pre-heated oven 220C for 2o minutes.

Tip: Serve the cod with a salad.

Yield: 4 servings


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