Over a millenia Lisbon has been a port city. Importing and exporting delicacies from all around the known world. The saying goes, if it aint broke dont fix it. In Portuguese it must have translated to, if it aint broke, use it everyday, all the time and be sure to include ways you never thought possible - this is the story of 'Bacalhau.' A traditional and mainstay Portuguese dish of codfish, lightly fried in olive oil with onions and usually served with home fried potatoes.
I never imagined fish would taste like anything other than fishy, slimy, fish. Every dish of bacalhau can have a surprise of flavor. The taste possibilities are endless with over 350 known preparations.
Bacalhau tastes like an old woman belting a fado ballad, textures fusing together, telling a sad, beautiful story to your mouth.
Anywhere you order Bacalhau is going to lay claim to its' in house recipe as being the best.
When purchased at the local market, just look for the aisle with crusty fish carcasses adorning the tables and shelves. The indeterminable shelf life, probably help to keep distributors pricing of this staple low. If one were to peek inside a Lisboetas' shopping basket you would probably see a bottle or two of regional wine, a salted codfish probably two, a loaf of fresh baked bread and a small bag of varietal fruits and veggies.
The Portuguese love their bacalhau so much, that when the country has a shortage they will just import it from places like Norway or Northeastern Canada.
Everyone knows it is not fresh fish! But, with Portuguese culinary magic, this dried, salted, aged, soulful masterpiece of cod is reincarnated nightly onto the majority of plates across the country.