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Bacalao a la Vizcaina is a Basque dish popular throughout Latin America

Bacalao a la Vizcaina - Spanish-style Salt Cod in Batter

A battered salt cod dish from the Basque Region of Spain. Although it's especially popular at Easter in Spain and throughout Latin America, it can be enjoyed any time of year.
Course Main
Cuisine Spanish
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 45 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 376kcal
Author Michele Peterson


  • 1 large piece dried salt cod
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 Tablespoons white flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon achiote
  • 5 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 potatoes chopped into pieces and cooked until soft but not soggy
  • 1/2 cup green pitted olives
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 raw onion chopped
  • 1 clove peeled garlic
  • 2 cups fresh Roma tomatoes peeled or canned tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 tsp achiote
  • 1/8 tsp thyme
  • 1/8 tsp Espelette pepper or cayenne, Aleppo or hot paprika
  • handful chopped parsley


  • Begin soaking the whole piece of salt cod in water three days prior to the day you want to prepare the dish
  • Replace the water daily and be sure to cover the salt cod completely. Place it into the refrigerator while it's soaking
  • Puree the onion, garlic, tomato and water in a food processor until a fine consistency
  • Pour a tablespoon of oil into a large frying pan and add the tomato sauce, herbs, Espelette pepper and achiote.
  • Simmer the sauce while preparing and cooking the cod
  • Drain, rinse, pat dry and then cut the salt cod into pieces about 3 x 3 inches square. The sizes of the pieces will vary based on the shape of the fish
  • Sprinkle the fish with two tablespoons of flour and pepper
  • Separate egg whites and beat until stiff
  • Beat egg yolks until creamy
  • Combine egg whites, egg yolks, two tablespoons of flour, achiote and pepper, beating for a minute or two until batter is creamy
  • Heat five tablespoons of oil in a frying pan until it reaches a medium high temperature
  • Dip each piece of salt cod in batter and fry in oil until browned (3 minutes), then remove and allow it to drain on paper towels.
  • Repeat until all the fish is cooked. Try to work quickly so the batter doesn't begin to separate.
  • Place the fish in the tomato sauce and add the potatoes and olives
  • Cover and heat thoroughly at a medium temperature (5-10 minutes)
  • Sprinkle with parsley and serve


  • You can speed up the soaking of the salt cod by using slightly warmer water.
  • Once you've made the batter, use it immediately so it doesn't lose volume.
  • The tomato sauce can be prepared in advance and reheated when you're ready to add the fish and olives. 


Calories: 376kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 82mg | Sodium: 335mg | Potassium: 1023mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 445IU | Vitamin C: 30.8mg | Calcium: 94mg | Iron: 7.9mg