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Bacalhau a bras

A classy bacalhau a bras from Time Out Market Lisboa in Lisbon.

What: Of the 365 alleged ways that the Portuguese prepare salt cod, bacalhau à brás is definitely one of the most popular—in Lisbon, at least. Which is very good news, because it’s incredibly lovable. For this centuries-old recipe, said to have originated in coastal central Portugal (the area that includes Lisbon), shredded salt cod is stir-fried with (fried) julienned potatoes, onions, and eggs, which are slow-cooked for a creamy texture; the end result is typically garnished with black olives. Bacalhau à brás is an elegant, savory dish with just the right hits of salt and crunch, and it's an absolute must-eat in Portugal.   

Good to know: While we’re on the topic of salt cod, we just want to give a shoutout to some other favorite preparations of the stuff, too many to detail on EYW’s pages. All are worthy orders if you spot them out and about: bacalhau com natas (au gratin style), salada de bacalhau com grão (cod salad with chickpeas), bacalhau a Braga (fried, topped with onions and alonside fried potatoes), bacalhau á Gomes Sá (baked with potatoes, onions, boiled egg, and olives) and pasteis or pataniscas de bacalhau (fritters, made with or without potato).

Where: Pictured is the exceptionally beautiful bacalhau à brás from the Miguel Castro e Silva stall inside the popular, 2014-opened Time Out Market Lisboa (aka Mercado da Ribeira; Av. 24 de Julho 49, map). Chef Miguel is known for putting modern twists on traditional dishes, but with this clássico, he knew to leave well enough alone: It’s just perfect as is.

When: Sun-Wed, 10am-midnight; Thurs-Sat, 10am-2am

Order: Chef Miguel’s parsley-flecked bacalhau à brás (€9.50) tastes as good as it looks. The egg that holds the mess of cod and slightly crunchy potato together is so creamy it’s nearly cheesy. The olives (green, in a departure from the classic black) bring out the subtle saltiness of the fish. The potatoes and egg seem to suggest breakfast, but with a crisp white wine, this makes for a helluva classy lunch or dinner.

Alternatively: More formal (and expensive) is the city’s bacalhau specialist, A Casa do Bacalhau (Rua do Grilo 54, map), where you can find bacalhau everything, including this dish. Better deals can be had in less flashy environs, such as the cute little restaurant O Vicentinho (21 888 1025; Rua Voz do Operario 1, map). This is something you can look for in any traditional restaurant offering seafood.


 

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