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Portuguese and other cuisines 
Bacalhau dishes are common in Portugal and Galicia, in the northwest of Spain, and to a lesser extent in former Portuguese colonies like Angola, Macau, Brazil, and Goa. There are said to be over 1000 recipes in Portugal alone and it can be considered the iconic ingredient of Portuguese cuisine (but curiously the only fish that is not consumed fresh in this fish-loving nation). It is often cooked on social occasions and is the Portuguese traditional Christmas dinner in some parts of Portugal.
Similar recipes can be found across Europe. It is also found in the cuisines of other territories and regions like Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. In Norway, where most of the salted and dried cod is produced, bacalao commonly refers to a specific dish prepared with salted and dried cod, potatoes, onions, tomatoes and olives. In recent years, there has also been increasing interest in the wider range of Portuguese dishes based on dried and salted cod, however.
Salted, dried cod, usually comes from Norway (bacalhau da Noruega), Iceland (bacalhau da Islândia) or Newfoundland (bacalhau da Terra Nova). It used to be very affordable, but with the collapse of the cod stocks and dismantling of Portuguese bacalhoeiro fleet, it became more expensive, especially near Easter and Christmas time, since it's a part of many traditional dishes of the holiday season.
There are numerous bacalhau recipe variations, depending on region and tradition.In Portugal, it is said there are more than 365 ways to cook bacalhau, one for every day of the year; others say there are 1,001 ways. Whatever the exact number, bacalhau is a ubiquitous ingredient in Portuguese cuisine.
Bacalhau is often served with potatoes. Green (Vinho Verde) or mature wines (Alentejo Wine, Dão Wine, or Douro Wine) are served alongside.
Some Bacalhau dishes:
- Bacalhau com todos
- Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá (some varieties: Original, Porto)
- Bacalhau à Brás
- Bacalhau da Consoada (some varieties: Minhota and Beirã), eaten on Christmas Eve.
- "Farrapo Velho" or "Roupa Velha", the leftovers of Bacalhau da Consoada and after the spirits have "eaten" their share overnight, is often served for Christmas Lunch.
- Bacalhau à Zé do Pipo
- Bacalhau à Zé do Telhado
- Bacalhau Espiritual
- Bacalhau Gratinado
- Bacalhau com Migas e Broa
- Bacalhau no Forno (some varieties: Algarve, Beiras, Antiga, Queijo, Salsa e Louro)
- Bacalhau-Lagosta (Lobster Bacalhau)
- Bacalhau com natas (Bacalhau with cream)
- Bacalhau ao Vinho do Porto (Port Wine Bacalhau)
- Bacalhau com Cerveja (Beer Bacalhau)
- Bacalhau com Queijo (Cheese Bacalhau)
- Bacalhau com Leite (Milk Bacalhau)
- Bacalhau com Alhos e Pimentão (Garlic and Pepper Bacalhau)
- Bacalhau com Pimento e Chouriço (Pepper and Sausage Bacalhau)
- Bacalhau com Tomate (Tomato Bacalhau)
- Bacalhau com Piri-piri (Piri-piri is a very hot chilli pepper used in Portuguese and Lusophone-African cuisine)
- Bacalhau com Molho de Ervas Picadas (Herbs Bacalhau)
- Bacalhau com Molho de Azeite (Olive Oil Sauce Bacalhau)
- Bacalhau com Molho de Camarão (Shrimp Sauce Bacalhau)
- Bacalhau com Molho de Caril (Curry Sauce Bacalhau)
- Bacalhau com Molho de Tomate (Tomato Sauce Bacalhau)
- Bacalhau com Molho Picante (Spicy Sauce Bacalhau)
- Bacalhau à Rosa do Adro
- Bacalhau Escondido (Hidden Bacalhau) a.k.a. Bacalhau à Enterro (Burial-style Bacalhau)
- Bacalhau Dourado (Golden Bacalhau)
- Bacalhau Cozido com Batatas a Murro (Boiled Bacalhau with Punched Potatoes)
Some Regional Bacalhau dishes include:
- Bacalhau à Minhota (Minho region)
- Bacalhau Recheado à Narcisa (Minho region)
- Bacalhau à Lagareiro (Minho region)
- Bacalhau à Margarida da Praça (Minho region)
- Bacalhau à Novainho (Minho region)
- Bacalhau à São Lourenço da Montaria (Minho region)
- Bacalhau Assado na Brasa (Minho region)
- Bacalhau com Salpicão e Pão de Milho (Minho region)
- Bacalhau de Tiborna (Beiras)
- Bacalhau à Moda de Caminha
- Bacalhau à Moda de Viana do Castelo
- Bacalhau à Moda do Porto
- Bacalhau à Moda do Douro
- Bacalhau Frito (Beiras)
- Bacalhau Frito à Açoriana (Azores)
- Bacalhau Podre (literally, "Rotten Bacalhau", Trás-os-Montes)
- Bacalhau à Romeu (Trás-os-Montes)
- Bacalhau à Moda de Ervedosa (Beira Alta)
- Bacalhau à Assis (Beira Baixa)
- Bacalhau à Madre Paula (Estremadura)
- Bacalhau à Lisbonense (Lisbon)
- Bacalhau à Algarvia (Algarve)
- Bacalhau que Nunca Chega (Alentejo)
- Poejada de Bacalhau (Alentejo)
- Arroz de Bacalhau no Forno (Alentejo)
Besides the dishes listed above, there are the bolinhos de bacalhau (term used in the north of Portugal and in Brazil) or pastéis de bacalhau (term in the south of Portugal): literally "Cod cakes", made up of potatoes, eggs, parsley, and some minor ingredients with dry salted cod. The bolinhos or pastéis de bacalhau are fried and served cold before meals. Similar delicacies are the "pataniscas de bacalhau" and the "iscas de bacalhau", which are often only served in traditional tabernas (taverns) in Northern Portugal and often preferred by older people.
"Bolinhos de bacalhau" in Brazil are usually served in bars as an appetizer consumed with beer.
Salt cod has been produced for at least 500 years, since the time of the European discoveries of the New World. Before refrigeration, there was a need to preserve the cod; drying and salting are ancient techniques to preserve nutrients and the process makes the cod tastier.
The Portuguese tried to use this method of drying and salting on several varieties of fish from their waters, but the ideal fish came from much further north. With the "discovery" of Newfoundland in 1497, long after the Basque whalers arrived in Channel-Port aux Basques, they started fishing its cod-rich Grand Banks. Thus, bacalhau became a staple of the Portuguese cuisine, nicknamed Fiel amigo (faithful friend). From the 18th century, the town of Kristiansund in Norway became an important place of purchasing bacalhau or klippfisk (literally "cliff fish", since the fish was dried on stone cliffs by the sea to begin with). Since the method was introduced by the Dutchman Jappe Ippes in abt 1690, the town had produced klippfisk and when the Spanish merchants arrived, it became a big industry. The bacalhau or bacalao dish is sometimes said to originate from Kristiansund, where it was introduced by the Spanish and Portuguese fish buyers and became very popular. Bacalhau was common everyday food in north west Norway to this day, as it was cheap to make. In later years it is more eaten at special occasions.
This dish was also popular in Portugal and other Roman Catholic countries, because of the many days (Fridays, Lent, and other festivals) on which the Church forbade the eating of meat. Bacalhau dishes were eaten instead.
See also