Nothing screams summer more than a delicious seafood salad. This Serenata de Bacalao is a typical Puerto Rican Salad. Made with salted codfish and fresh ingredients that will make you feel like you are sitting next to a Caribbean beach on a beautiful day.
If you visit an Island you will quickly realize that they have many seafood-based recipes. This is especially true in Caribbean countries. In Puerto Rico, many delicacies are made with seafood like eggplant with cod fish, fried tilapia, shrimp soup, or Serenata de Bacalao. This is a staple dish in Puerto Rican culture year-round but is popular in spring and summer.
What is Serenata de Bacalao?
Serenata de Bacalao is sometimes referred to simply as Ensalada de Bacalao which is essentially a cod salad. Made with salt cod fish that has been stripped of the extra salt and shredded into smaller pieces. Then is mixed with egg slices, and fresh vegetables like yellow onions, ripe avocado, and tomatoes. Drizzled with a bit of oil on top and you have a delicious salad.
Is this dish Puerto Rican?
This is a Puerto Rican bacalao salad recipe but many countries make this Salted codfish salad. Most of the other recipes have the same base but just with a few variations and are called differently. There’s even another Puerto Rican recipe similar to this salad called gazpacho and the only difference is that it has no eggs and a little bit of vinegar is added. In Brazil, depending on the region they make their own, which has potatoes added and is called Salada de bacalhau.
What to serve with?
Puerto Ricans serve this with tuber vegetables such as potatoes, yuca, yam, and yautia(taro) because you can find them in any region of the island. Normally I will serve this with boiled plantains, green bananas or some Tostones and let me tell you that is so delicious.
You don’t have to serve it specifically with these vegetables, you can even pair this with white rice. But remember that like many other main dishes this can be eaten by itself. You can have it cold or even at room temperature and it is an amazing salad to have.
Can I make Ensalada de Bacalao ahead?
This recipe is one that you can make ahead. First, you need to remove the excess salt. You can do this by desalting overnight in a large salad bowl or any large pot with cold water. Cover bowl and refrigerate overnight. You must change your water a couple of times until you have no more salty water.
Or you can simply cook your cod as the recipe directions specify and save it in your fridge desalted for no more than 3 days. Then when ready to eat simply mix the rest of the ingredients. I don’t recommend freezing the salad as a whole because the vegetables will get mushy. But you can desalt, cook and freeze your cod for up to 3 months. Then thaw in the fridge, mix your veggies and enjoy.
What is Bacalao?
Bacalao is salted codfish that has been preserved with a drying and salting method. While Bacalao comes from codfish due to overfishing, other whitefish are used such as pollock and haddock.
Bacalao (salted codfish)– I use salted cod for this recipe which is what the authentic recipe uses. But if you can’t find any, feel free to use any salted fish.
Avocado– This recipe uses half of a ripe avocado but you can surely use the whole avocado. I love it because it adds creaminess to this salad.
Red onion– I use red onions but any type will do. You can use yellow or white onion.
Tomatoes– I use one big tomato because this is the ingredient that adds freshness to this dish. it doesn’t matter how you cut it. You can have tomato slices or cubed tomatoes. You can even use cherry tomatoes.
Eggs- I added 2 hard-boiled eggs.
Oil– For the oil, I use vegetable oil. You can use extra virgin olive oil or any that you prefer.
How to make Puerto Rican Bacalao Salad
1. First you must desalt your codfish. Run it through cold water or rinse it in a bowl. If you have time you can desalt overnight in a bowl with water in your fridge.
2. Cook your salted codfish. This step helps to desalt it.
3. Your third step is a very important one. You are going to make sure there are no more bones in it while you cut it into pieces. Many times I always find a bone or two. Your pieces can be as large or small as you prefer.
4. Boil your eggs.
5. Cut all your vegetables and eggs. You can cut it into cubes, small or large pieces. I cut them into long strips.
6. Add your oil and mix.
Serenata de bacalao (Salted Cod Salad)
- 1 lb bacalao (salted codfish)
- 1/2 avocado
- 1/2 red onion
- 1 tomato
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons oil
- Rinse your codfish. You can do this under running cold water or in a large bowl with cold water. Make sure you scrub all the excess salt.
- In a large saucepan add water and cook the codfish for 15 minutes over medium high heat. Then drain and shred your codfish into smaller pieces. As you do this it is very important that you feel for any bones that were left in your fish.
- In a small saucepan boil your eggs for 15 minutes.
- Next cut all your eggs and vegetables into strips. This is just a matter of preference so please feel free to cut them in any shape you like.
- Add your oil and mixed everything together. Enjoy right away.
- In this recipe, the salted cod is rinsed and cooked. All of this will help desalt the cod but it is all to my preference. Please make sure that after the 15 minutes of cooking you taste your codfish for saltiness. If you feel like is too salty rinse once more. I don’t suggest cooking it more because it can become rubbery.
- You can eat this right away as I do but some people like to chill the salad before eating it.
Hi! I’m Stephenie and I love to make food and share it with everyone. I make everyday recipes that are easy to follow and most importantly delicious! I hope that my recipes inspire you to cook.