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March 17, 2013 by Reggie Aspiras

Bacalhau com Ameijoas (codfish with clams)

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In the season of Lent, bacalao is the ultimate indulgence. So, when I received a text message from Chingling Tanco saying that she finally had slightly salted bacalao (Atlantic cod premium loins, the type that needs no overnight soaking and behaves more like a meaty, juicy fish steak when left whole and soft and supple when flaked), I was overly excited. More so when I found out how much they were being sold for. 

I asked João Branquinho (who, by being Portuguese, has earned the right to be a bacalao whiz) to share his recipes with us. My personal favorite dish of his is the homey Bacalhau al Bras. João also happens to roast the finest chicken with piri-piri sauce (the thought alone makes my mouth water) and imports excellent yet reasonably priced Portuguese wines of distinct character. 

João says his recipes are good for four, and best eaten with bread, boiled or baked potatoes, or rice. Note: If you are using regular salted bacalao instead of loins for these recipes, soak the fish overnight with several water changes. 

Bacalhau com Ameijoas

Wine suggestions for this excellent dish: Vinho Verde or Alvarinho. 

These are wines with character and aroma—perfect with seafood and hot spices. 


  • 500 g codfish loin (about 4) 
  • 500 g clams 
  • 200 ml Vinho Verde (Casa do Valle is the one I use) 
  • 3 medium onions, diced 
  • 4 medium tomatoes, peeled and diced 
  • 3 tsp extra virgin olive oil 
  • 1 bay leaf 
  • 12 garlic cloves, finely chopped 
  • ½ bunch each of flat leaf parsley and coriander, chopped 
  • Diced red bell pepper 
  • Diced bird’s eye labuyo (to taste) 
  • 1 tsp butter 
  • Salt 
  • Black pepper 
  • 2 tsp lemon juice 


  1. In a pot, put 2 tbsp of olive oil; when hot, add 2 sliced onions. Let it cook in low fire for 5 minutes before adding 8 cloves of garlic. Let it cook for 2 minutes. 
  2. Add 2 tbsp bell pepper and labuyo to taste. 
  3. Add clams and cover the pot. Let it cook for 2 minutes. 
  4. Add parsley and coriander. 
  5. Add 150 ml of wine and cover. Let the clams open and add butter. Turn off heat. 
  6. Season to taste and add lemon. 
  7. In another pan, heat 1 tbsp olive oil, add bay leaf, onion and diced tomatoes. 
  8. Add 50 ml wine, 4 cloves of garlic, black pepper and mix gently. Let it cook in low fire. 
  9. Add codfish and slow-cook for 5 minutes; turn the loins carefully and cook another 5 minutes. 
  10. Arrange on a serving platter.



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