Confit cod with eggs and crispy potatoes

Confit cod with eggs and crispy potatoes

Bacalhau à brás

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À Brás is a classic cooking style that’s synonymous with eggs and crispy potatoes, and it’s traditionally prepared with cod. This is a simple recipe using straightforward ingredients, but it’s truly special when made the right way. The cod should be cured and gently cooked into a confit, the onions slowly caramelised and the shoestring fries thin and crisp. In many recipes the eggs are cooked to a hard scramble, but I prefer to add them at the end of cooking so that they gently bind all the ingredients in a creamy mixture. Try it like this if you love soft scrambled eggs. The à Brás cooking style can be applied to other ingredients too – prawns and courgettes, say.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient

For the confit cod

Quantity Ingredient
400ml extra-virgin olive oil
1 bay leaf
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 small long red chilli, cut into chunks
2 x 150g Hearty cod and coriander broth, cured cod fillets

For the bacalhau à brás

Quantity Ingredient
vegetable oil, for frying
200g potatoes, thinly sliced into matchsticks
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
5 eggs, lightly beaten
a small handful parsley leaves, finely chopped
pitted black olives, thinly sliced
sea salt flakes
ground white pepper

Method

  1. To confit the cod — Put all the ingredients except the cod in a small, deep, heavy-based pan and heat gently to 85°C, or when the oil just starts to bubble. Remove the pan from the heat and leave it to cool for a few minutes. Carefully slide in the fish and leave it submerged in the oil for 15 minutes, or until it flakes apart nicely. Remove the fish, transfer it to a plate, then gently break it apart into bite-sized chunks. Reserve the oil.
  2. To make the bacalhau à Brás — Fill a large, heavy-based pan one-third full with vegetable oil and heat it to 180°C, or until a cube of bread sizzles and turns golden brown almost straight away. Add the potato matchsticks in batches and cook for a few minutes until golden brown and crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. (Alternatively, you can use shop-bought chipstick crisps, as we do in Portugal.)
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons of the reserved confit oil in a pan over a medium heat, add the onion and cook gently until soft. Add the garlic and cook for a few minutes, until fragrant. Stir in one third of the potato matchsticks. Add the cod, then fold in the eggs, stirring them gently until they start to thicken and softly scramble, and seasoning with salt and pepper. Remove the pan from the heat and stir through another third of the potato matchsticks. Transfer the mixture to serving bowls and sprinkle the rest of the matchsticks on top along with the parsley and black olives.
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