Portuguese Fried Salt Cod With Garlic-Pepper Sauce

Portuguese Fried Salt Cod with Garlic and Pepper Recipe

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. Pimenta Moída 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 flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 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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Recipe Testers Reviews

I grew up with this dish, but I must say, this recipe is the very best I have ever made or tried. I served it over oven-baked fries and the taste was absolutely fantastic. The cod was beautifully crisp and the sauce over it added the right amount of spice and moisture. This is a recipe I will make again and again.

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