A Salt Cod Breakfast

Years ago I was lamenting to my daughter that I miss salt cod. At the time she lived in London, and assured me she could grab some for me at a local Portuguese market. And indeed, before a summer visit, she purchased some and put it in her suitcase.

Did you catch the word “summer?” I picked her up at the airport in Oklahoma City, then we went to lunch and did some shopping…. all the while forgetting about the salt cod in the trunk of my car. Well, that was a lesson learned. Do not ever leave salt cod in a hot car!

But I finally have my hands on some salt cod after years of searching, thanks to Whole Foods. This recipe is an attempt to duplicate a dish my mother made years ago. I’m not sure about the specifics, but I think I remember all of the major components. It involves salt cod, potatoes, onions, a white sauce and a poached egg. Capers optional, but highly recommended!

If you need information on how to prepare salt cod, please refer to Salt Cod.

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I made this breakfast dish recently in order to take better photos than I had in 2013, and I used small Yukon gold potatoes instead of red ones. In case you notice!

Salt Cod and Poached Egg with White Sauce and Capers
Serves 4

1/2 stick butter
1 large onion, sliced
4 small red potatoes, cut into 3/4″ cubes
12 ounces prepared salt cod, cut into pieces
1/4 cup whole milk
4 poached eggs, prepared at the last minute

White sauce:
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
1 3/4 cups half and half

Capers, for serving

Heat the butter in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté them for about 10 minutes. They should be nicely caramelized. Then stir in the chopped potatoes.

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Push the pieces of cod under the potatoes and onions, then pour the milk over the top. Make sure the mixture boils, then cover the skillet and turn down the heat to the lowest position. Cook for 20 minutes without disturbing it.

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After cooking, the mixture will look like this:

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To make the white sauce, melt 1/2 stick butter in a pan over medium heat. When it has completely melted, add the flour and whisk together well. Then pour in the half and half, whisking all the while, and continue mixing until it thickens. See white sauce if you’ve never made one. If you like, season the sauce with black or white pepper.

To prepare the individual servings, divide the salt cod, potato and onion mixture between four bowls. Partially cover with the white sauce, and gently add the poached eggs.

I also like adding cayenne pepper flakes or Tabasco sauce to this dish. Just for some zing.

By Published On: January 21st, 201323 Comments

About the Author: Chef Mimi

As a self-taught home cook, with many years in the culinary profession, I am passionate about all things food-related. Especially eating!

23 Comments

  1. 24/7 in France January 21, 2013 at 10:44 AM - Reply

    Visually enticing, but can’t say I would eat fish at breakfast time.

  2. The Kat and The Falling Leaves January 21, 2013 at 1:03 PM - Reply

    I would so eat this! Thank you for the recipe.

  3. Pride in Photos Photography January 21, 2013 at 1:47 PM - Reply

    My husband is a fisherman…I can’t wait to share this post with him. Thanks for sharing. BTW…your blog header of the girl holding the wine glass…MAJOR love for this♥

    • chef mimi January 21, 2013 at 2:23 PM - Reply

      A friend of my daughter designed that for some note cards for me years ago. She graciously gave me the artwork when I started my blog! She’s very talented!

      • Pride in Photos Photography January 21, 2013 at 6:04 PM

        Mimi, what a generous gift she gave to you for your blog!

      • chef mimi January 21, 2013 at 6:24 PM

        I know. I still have the little black dog, too!

        Sent from my iPad

  4. yummychunklet January 21, 2013 at 2:10 PM - Reply

    Never thought of this for breakfast, but why not? Looks good!

  5. chef mimi January 21, 2013 at 2:20 PM - Reply

    Thanks! I think! It’s not that fishy!

  6. benvenutocellini January 21, 2013 at 3:15 PM - Reply

    OMG…Baccalà for breakfast?? incredible…but it “sounds” delicious….

  7. Food and Forage Hebrides January 21, 2013 at 3:46 PM - Reply

    I know exactly how that cod would have smelled iafter being in a hot car. This is a delicious take on bacalhau, never had it for breakfast before, not even in Portugal! Thanks, Tracey

  8. chef mimi January 21, 2013 at 4:12 PM - Reply

    Yeah… the salt doesn’t keep the cod from getting hot and rotting!!!

  9. ChgoJohn January 21, 2013 at 5:25 PM - Reply

    It’s relatively easy to find salt cod (bacala) here and we traditionally serve it on Christmas Eve, although I’ll serve it at other times, as well. Never would think of it as a breakfast food but, then again, why not? Your dish sure looks tasty.

    • chef mimi January 21, 2013 at 5:30 PM - Reply

      Oh you’re so lucky. But I know you have a lot of ethnic markets there… Lucky!

  10. Choc Chip Uru January 22, 2013 at 2:42 AM - Reply

    What a deliciously original brekkie idea – hot and tasty :D

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

  11. Phil @foodfrankly January 22, 2013 at 4:00 AM - Reply

    Looks lovely! I have fish for breakfast whenever I can (weekends normally), especially smoked fish. I’ll give the salt cod a try if I can find it round here….

    • chef mimi January 22, 2013 at 8:08 AM - Reply

      Smoked salmon and eggs is my favorite, bit this is a close second…

  12. MJ January 22, 2013 at 6:00 PM - Reply

    I was scrolling through my “reader” and, for a minute, thought it was a picture of a dessert topped with whipped cream and chocolate chips. I guess I still had brownies on my mind. :)

    Regardless, this recipe looks so good!

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