Try this bacalhau à brás, then check out our Portuguese fish stew (Caldeirada de peixe), Portuguese seafood rice and more Portuguese recipes.

Dried and salted cod, also known as bacalhau in Portugal, is a common ingredients with a rumoured 1,000-plus recipes in Portugal alone. It also goes by another name, 'O fiel amigo', meaning 'the faithful friend', showing how popular this iconic ingredient is.

With a view that looks out over the transformed Battersea Power Station, Joia, with its floor-to-ceiling windows pouring light onto the warm pastel interiors, literally shines – which is apt, given that its name means ‘jewel’ in Portuguese. Perched at the top of Art’otel, Joia is London’s first offering from Michelin-starred Henrique Sá Pessoa, with the main restaurant, a vermouth and wine bar, and an additional rooftop bar spread over three floors. The menu, simply created using the best ingredients available, includes dishes such as bulhão pato mussels, suquet – a monkfish and red prawn stew – and hand-dived scallops with black aïoli sabayon.


  • 100g salt cod
  • 100g black pitted olives, drained
  • 160ml vegetable oil, plus 1 tbsp
  • 1 small onion, finely sliced (about 50g)
  • 400ml olive oil
  • 1 small potato, peeled (about 60g)
  • 1 egg, plus 2 egg yolks
  • small handful of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped


  • STEP 1

    Soak the cod in cold water for 10 hrs, making sure it’s fully submerged. Change the water three times during this time.

  • STEP 2

    Heat the oven to 120C/100C fan/gas ½. Put the olives on a baking tray and bake for 3 hrs-3 hrs 15 mins, shaking the tray occasionally until the olives are firm and dried out. Set aside to cool, then transfer to a mini blender and blitz until finely broken down – avoid over-processing so it doesn’t become a paste.

  • STEP 3

    Heat 1 tbsp of the vegetable oil in a medium frying pan over a low-medium heat and cook the onion with a generous pinch of salt for 30 mins until soft and lightly golden, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. If the onions start to catch, add a splash of water and mix well. Once cooked, set aside.

  • STEP 4

    Meanwhile, thoroughly drain the cod, pat dry using kitchen paper, then transfer to a small pan and cover with the olive oil. Set over a low heat and gently simmer for 18-20 mins – if the oil starts to bubble, reduce the heat further. When ready, the fish should be tender and easy to flake. Transfer the fish to a plate lined with kitchen paper using a slotted spoon, and leave to drain.

  • STEP 5

    Cut the potato into strips using a julienne peeler, then plunge into a bowl of cold water and leave to soak for 15 mins before draining and rinsing – this will help remove any excess starch. Put the potato strips between sheets of kitchen paper and gently pat dry to remove as much moisture as possible. Heat the remaining 160ml of vegetable oil in a medium pan to 140C. Fry the potatoes in two batches for 3-4 mins per batch, stirring occasionally, until lightly golden. Drain on kitchen paper.

  • STEP 6

    Lightly beat the egg with 1 egg yolk, seasoning lightly. Flake the fish and mix with the onions and half of the fried potatoes. Heat a large frying pan over a low-medium heat and cook the fish mixture for 2-3 mins or until just warmed through. Reduce the heat to its lowest setting, then stir in the egg and cook briefly until the egg is moist but not visibly runny or wet. Immediately remove from the heat and stir in the remaining potato strips and two-thirds of the parsley. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if needed – remember the cod is salted.

  • STEP 7

    Put a 12cm cooking ring in the centre of a serving plate. Spoon in the mixture and pat down using the back of the spoon, creating a slight dip in the centre. Remove the ring and carefully add the remaining egg yolk to the centre. Carefully sprinkle the olive crumb and remaining parsley around the edge of the bacalhau à brás, then serve.

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