Portuguese Fried Salt Cod With Garlic-Pepper Sauce

This recipe from the Portuguese-American community of New Bedford, Massachusetts, is a version of a dish popular in Portugal’s Azorean Islands. Serve it with lightly sauteed potatoes and ice-cold Vinho Verde, Portugal’s famous white wine.–The Editors of Saveur

LC Salted Cod and Pimenta Moída Note

The editors at Saveur were kind enough to impart a few words to the wise in terms of purchasing ingredients for this Portuguese staple. Here’s what they had to say: “Buy salt cod from the largest pieces possible and look for a supple texture, not a firm, pressed one; it should be white to grayish white in color, not yellow. Boxed salt cod is acceptable, but unboxed is better. Most hispanic grocers and fish markets carry salt cod. <em>Pimenta Moída</em> is available at Portuguese markets and some Hispanic grocers.”

Portuguese Fried Salt Cod With Garlic-Pepper Sauce Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 20 M
  • 20 M
  • Serves 4


  • 1 pound salt cod
  • 1 to 2 cups flour
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • For the Garlic-Pepper Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
  • Pinch cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon pimenta moída (Portuguese fermented pepper paste)


  • 1. Put the salt cod in a large bowl, add enough water to cover, and refrigerate for 24 hours, changing the water several times.
  • 2. Combine the olive oil, vinegar, parsley, garlic, cayenne, and pimenta moída in a small bowl and mix thoroughly. Set aside to allow flavors to blend.
  • 3. Put the flour in a medium bowl. Drain the cod, pat dry, then dredge it in flour, shaking off the excess.
  • 4. Pour the vegetable oil into a large skillet to a depth of 1 1/2 inches and heat over medium-high heat. Fry the cod, turning once, until golden brown, about 9 minutes. Remove the fish from pan, drain it on paper towels, then transfer it to a large platter. Serve warm with garlic-pepper sauce drizzle over top.
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