a stack of salted cod salad sits on a white plate with a marble background

Salted Cod Salad

 – Esqueixada de bacallà –

Esqueixada de bacallà (salted cod salad) is the perfect spring or summertime recipe. It’s gluten-free, contains only easy-to-find ingredients including codfish, tomato, spring onion, red pepper, black pepper, extra virgin olive oil, and a fresh squeeze of some lime. 

Once the dried salted fish is rehydrated, this recipe is super easy to make and can be whipped up in around 15 minutes! Our recipe makes 4 tapas-sized servings.

Serving:

4 people (tapas)

Ready in:

15 minutes

Skill level:

Super easy

Serve with:

Fresh bread

About This Recipe

Esqueixada de bacallà (salted cod salad) is a traditional summertime recipe that hails from the Catalonia region. Due to its easy-to-find ingredients and quick preparation time, you’ll find a few different versions of this classic recipe all over Spain

Typically, Esqueixada de bacallà is served as a tapa or small appetizer. The rich salty flavors of the bacalao (dried cod fish) infuse with the salad ingredients and make for a perfect refreshing dish that can be enjoyed on a warm day. 

flakes of salted cod fish sit in a stainless steel bowl

Traditional ingredients found in Esqueixada de bacallà (salted cod salad)

This recipe can be found all over Spain in a number of variations. The traditional ‘esqueixada de bacallà‘ recipe originates from the Catalonia region and at the bare minimum contains just 5 ingredients. 

  • Bacalao (dried salted codfish)
  • Tomato
  • Spring onion
  • Black pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Of course, with just 5 basic ingredients to work with, finding the best quality ingredients is crucial to the success of this recipe

Nowadays, the humble salted codfish salad is found all over Spain and is often referred to as either Esqueixada de bacallà, Esqueixada de bacalao, or simply salted codfish salad

Along the way, some ingredients have been added or removed depending on where you sample it. It’s now common to find chopped red and green pepper, thinly sliced red onion, and even some mayonnaise or white wine vinegar. 

These ingredients can add to the salty and sweet flavors of the original recipe. We’ve experimented with a few different versions and found the perfect combination for a delicious summer salad that’s ready in just 15 minutes!

What is Bacalao?

  • Bacalao (or bacallà in Catalan) is the Spanish term for codfish that has been preserved in salt.

Once the bacalao fillet is cleaned and filleted with all bones removed, the fillets of codfish are then dried and coated in salt. Once preserved, Balcalao can be preserved for several years. When bacalao is required for a recipe, it needs to be rehydrated by soaking the fillets in a freshwater bath for several hours. 

Bacalao is easily found all over Spain. It is sold in most local markets as cured fillets that hang as the salt glistens. Bacalao is also sold in most supermarkets and at specialty fishmongers

There are three different types of bacalao available from most supermarkets and fishmongers:

  • Fresh bacalao (literally fresh cod fillets)
  • Cured bacalao (dried and salted)
  • Rehydrated bacalao (fillets that had been dried and salted and are rehydrated for use in cooking)
Fillets of dried bacalao are laid out for sale at a night market

Where to buy bacalao

The best place to buy your bacalao is your local fishmonger. They will know exactly what stage the bacalao is in and how much preparation it requires before use in cooking. 

For this recipe, you’ll need to find either cured bacalao (and rehydrate it yourself), or alternatively, a good fishmonger will have some rehydrated bacalao that has already been prepared and is ready for cooking.

How to desalt and rehydrate bacalao

If you plan to rehydrate the bacalao yourself, it’s best to allow 12-14 hours (overnight is ideal) for the codfish to properly soak and draw out the excess salt. 

You need to change the water a few times (say every 2 hours) to remove the buildup of salt.

Equipment needed to make Esqueixada de bacallà (salted cod salad)

  • 1 medium bowl around 6-8 inches (20cm) in diameter (for mixing the salad)
  • 1 small Tupperware container (for rehydrating the codfish)
  • 4 small stainless steel cake rings (approx 2-3 inches (7cm) in diameter and 1.5 inches (4cm) deep).
a stack of salted cod salad sits on a white plate with a marble background

Ingredients

Method (step-by-step)

(Serves 4 people)

  • 7 Oz. (200 grams) of salted cod, flaked or shredded into small pieces
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, skin off, chopped into small cubes
  • 1 medium-sized spring onion, chopped fine (or half a red onion diced very fine)
  • ½ red pepper, diced
  • 2 Oz. (50 grams) black olives, sliced
  • Black pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of ½ lime

Method (step-by-step)

Step 1 – Prepare the cod

NOTE: If you have bought rehydrated cod, you can skip this step. 

  • First, shake off any excess salt and give the cod fillet a rinse under some fresh water. 
  • Next, submerge the cod into some fresh water and leave for 2-3 hours. Every hour, change out the water and rinse the fillet to remove any excess salt.

Step 2 – Prepare the salad

  • Remove the cod from the water and leave it on some paper towel to drain out any excess water.
  • Shred the fish fillet with your fingers, or chop finely with a sharp knife. 
  • Next, in a medium-sized mixing bowl, add the tomato, pepper, spring onion, and olives and mix well.
  • Add some extra virgin olive oil and season with some black pepper to taste. 
  • Finally, add the cod fish and squeeze half a lime over everything and mix well.

Step 3 – To serve

  • To plate up, use a small stainless steel cake ring and load the ingredients into the ring. Press down slightly with a cup or glass to gently compact the ingredients.
  • Remove the ring and garnish with a few pieces of black olives and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. 
  • Serve with some fresh sliced bread.
A small stack of salted cod salad sits on a white plate with an artistic sauce flair

Salted Cod Salad Esqueixada de bacallà

Byron
Esqueixada de bacallà (salted cod salad) is the perfect spring or summertime recipe. It’s gluten-free, contains only easy-to-find ingredients including codfish, tomato, spring onion, red pepper, black pepper, extra virgin olive oil, and a fresh sqeeze of some lime. Once the dried salted fish is rehydrated, this recipe is super easy to make and can be whipped up in around 15 minutes! Our recipe makes 4 tapas-sized servings.
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Rehydrate Bacalao fillets (optional) 12 hrs
Total Time 12 hrs 15 mins
Course appertizer, gluton-free, healthy, Salad, starter, tapas
Cuisine appetizer, fish, salad, Seafood, Spain, spanish, Tapas
Servings 4 people
Calories 207 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 Medium bowl around 6-8 inches (20cm) in diameter (for mixing the salad)
  • 1 Small tuppaware container Optional: for rehydrating the codfish
  • 4 Small stainless steel cake rings (approx 2-3 inches (7cm) in diameter and 1.5 inches (4cm) deep). Optional

Ingredients
  

  • 7 Oz. 200 grams of salted cod, flaked or shredded into small pieces
  • 2 ripe tomatoes skin off, chopped into small cubes
  • 1 medium-sized spring onion chopped fine (or half a red onion diced very fine)
  • ½ red pepper diced
  • 2 Oz. 50 grams black olives, sliced
  • Black pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of ½ lime

Instructions
 

Step 1 - Prepare the cod

  • NOTE: If you have bought rehydrated cod, you can skip this step.
  • First, shake off any excess salt and give the cod fillet a rinse under some fresh water.
  • Next, submerge the cod into some fresh water and leave for 2-3 hours. Every hour, change out the water and rinse the fillet to remove any excess salt.

Step 2 - Prepare the salad

  • Remove the cod from the water and leave it on some paper towel to drain out any excess water.
  • Shred the fish fillet with your fingers, or chop finely with a sharp knife
  • Next, in a medium-sized mixing bowl, add the tomato, pepper, spring onion, and olives and mix well
  • Add some extra virgin olive oil and season with some black pepper to taste.
  • Finally, add the cod fish and squeeze half a lime over everything and mix well

Step 3 - To serve

  • To plate up, use a small stainless steel cake ring and load the ingredients into the ring. Press down slightly with a cup or glass to gently compact the ingredients.
  • Remove the ring and garnish with a few pieces of black olives and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
  • Serve with some fresh sliced bread.

Notes

Salted Cod Salad-nutrition facts

Salted Cod Salad-nutrition facts

Nutrition

Serving: 80gCalories: 207kcalCarbohydrates: 4.8gProtein: 32.3gFat: 6.2gSaturated Fat: 0.9gCholesterol: 76mgSodium: 3627mgPotassium: 917mgFiber: 1.5gSugar: 2.5gCalcium: 102mgIron: 2mg
Keyword 15-minute-meal, bacalao, cod, codfish, easy, gluton-free, healthy, mediterranean, no-cooking, salad, salted cod
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
A place of Esqueixada de bacallà (salted cod fish salad) sits on a marble countertop.

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Looking for some other Spanish recipes that use bacalao?

Check out our Bacalao al Pil Pil recipe (salted cod with garlic and chili-infused sauce) for the ultimate main meal!

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