Exploring Bacalao Mexican: A Culinary Delight

Last December, I found myself in the heart of Mexico City, caught up in a whirlwind of festive scents and sounds. Amidst it all was bacalao mexican, a dish that tells a story as rich as its flavor.

Picture this: you’re navigating through vibrant markets where every ingredient from plump olives to dried salt cod whispers secrets of tradition and taste. This isn’t just food; it’s heritage served on a plate.

In moments, we’ll journey together through time-honored recipes that define Christmas Eve feasts and family gatherings. Ready your kitchen skills because by the end of our exploration, you’ll be set to whip up an authentic bacalao recipe guaranteed to impress at any celebration.

Table Of Contents:

The Rich History of Bacalao Mexicano

Whisk your taste buds away on a historical journey with bacalao mexicano, a dish that weaves the rich tapestry of Mexico’s past into every bite. This traditional Mexican salted cod stew has roots deeply planted in the viceroyalty era when Spanish and native ingredients first mingled to create what is now a beloved classic.

During Christmas Eve, families across Mexico gather around tables adorned with steaming pots of bacalao navideño. It’s not just food; it’s an edible chronicle telling stories from generations past. The savory notes of dried salt cod fish melding with finely chopped garlic and chiles largos transport you back to times when these recipes were meticulously preserved by home cooks committed to tradition.

The Essential Base – Olive Oil and Garlic Cloves

Bacalao Mexicano starts its flavor symphony with a generous pour of olive oil heating in a large skillet, laying down the first note for this culinary composition. Crushed tomatoes join finely chopped garlic cloves dancing together as they sizzle—a duet that forms the backbone for this time-honored recipe.

Add olives and stuffed bell peppers bring color and tanginess while slivered almonds add crunch against tender flakes of rehydrated dried salt cod fish—each ingredient playing its part in perfect harmony. With each stir through olive oil-glistening layers, aromas fill kitchens reminding us why dishes like these are treasured beyond mere sustenance but as cultural artifacts savored during festive seasons such as Navidad.

Spices and Seasonings – Bay Leaf to Ground Cinnamon

In true Mexican fashion, spices breathe life into any dish—and our star performer here makes no exception. Imagine bay leaf whispering hints of floral essence amidst soft bites or fresh ground pepper tickling palates after thoughtful simmering on medium heat within a saucepan cover securely fitted atop stirring occasionally keeping all flavors intact.

A dash unexpected yet delightful guest might be ground cinnamon offering sweet whispers beneath robust savory profiles marrying beautifully inside pots where magic unfolds under watchful eyes chefs at work—a testimony traditions being kept alive today just like those who’ve passed batons onto newer generations so eager learn secrets behind their heritage cuisine delights including how prepare bacalao correctly.

La Vizcaína Style, hailing from northern regions where La Mexicana variation adds unique touches such as pickled jalapeños or roasted red peppers, elevates the dining experience. This ensures there’s never a dull moment for your plate or palate—especially when enjoyed alongside crusty bread or corn tortillas. These are equally important accompaniments worthy of mention because what good would spoonfuls of heavenly stews be without the proper vehicles to enjoy them?

Key Takeaway: 


Dive into the history with every spoonful of bacalao mexicano, a festive dish that blends Spain’s legacy and Mexico’s culinary art. It starts with olive oil and garlic, layers in tomatoes, olives, almonds, and dried salt cod for an authentic taste. Spices like bay leaf and cinnamon add depth to this cultural masterpiece—best enjoyed with crusty bread or tortillas.

Decoding the Flavorful Ingredients of Bacalao Mexicano

Bacalao Mexicano is a dance of flavors, each step choreographed with precision. This savory dish’s soul lies in its ingredients; they bring history and culture to your palate. Imagine garlic cloves as the drumbeat, setting a rhythm that guides other elements into play.

The Essential Base – Olive Oil and Garlic Cloves

Olive oil isn’t just any performer on this stage—it’s the star. It provides a rich foundation for Bacalao Mexicano, creating an aromatic base when it sizzles with finely chopped garlic in the pan. The duo crafts an olfactory invitation that promises warmth and zest in every bite.

Fresh ground pepper joins next, adding a gentle heat while bay leaf whispers hints of earthiness throughout the saucepan cover where our bacalao simmers away. With these simple yet powerful players locked down, we’re well on our way to achieving authentic taste straight from Mexico City kitchens.

Spices and Seasonings – Bay Leaf to Ground Cinnamon

Moving beyond basics—spices enter gracefully. A pinch of ground cinnamon adds unexpected sweetness against salted cod’s briny notes—a delightful contrast reminiscent of traditional Christmas Eve dinners where families gather around dishes steeped in heritage like Bacalao Navideño.

This melody would be incomplete without chiles largos or their cousins chiles güeros offering vibrant color alongside bell peppers’ fruity tangs which marry beautifully with roasted red counterparts bringing smoky undertones forward into what can only be described as edible artistry meant not merely for sustenance but celebration too.

In preparing bacalao recipe magic happens through balance: Cup green olives contribute pops of flavor harmonizing nicely against salty bursts from capers whereas slivered almonds lend crunch disrupting textures smoothly leading you towards another forkful before you’ve quite decided if you’re ready for more…but trust me—you are.

Bacaloa à la Vizcaína, hailing from northern Mexico brings forth pickled jalapeños introducing acid cuts through richness allowing crushed tomatoes simmering beneath those layers freedom rise up meet diners halfway tickling tongues making eyes widen at complexity laid bare upon humble plate.

To get here though requires journey starting off with dried salt cod fish: needing soak cold water till pliable then gently break apart small pieces continue cooking absorbing saucy goodness envelops them completely.

Remember to always add potatoes last—they’ll need time to soften and absorb the essence of the lingering flavors in your dish.

Key Takeaway: 


Dive into the rich tapestry of Bacalao Mexicano where olive oil and garlic set the stage, spices like cinnamon add depth, and vibrant chiles bring heat. Every ingredient from olives to almonds plays its part in this flavorful feast that’s not just food—it’s a celebration.

Step-by-Step Cooking Guide for Perfecting Bacalao Mexicano

Preparing the Cod – Soaking and Shredding Techniques

The journey to a flawless Bacalao Mexicano starts with preparing your dried salt cod fish. Begin by soaking it in cold water, ensuring that every inch of the cod is submerged. This isn’t just a quick dip; you’ll want to let it sit overnight or for 24 hours if possible, changing the water several times throughout this period.

This soaking step is critical as it removes excess salt while rehydrating the fish—a balancing act between maintaining flavor and achieving ideal texture. Once sufficiently soaked, drain off all water from your large pot and gently shred the cod into small pieces—think bite-sized morsels that will blend seamlessly into your stew later on.

Cooking Your Base – Olive Oil Meets Garlic Cloves

A sizzling start with olive oil sets up our bacalao base perfectly. Heat about half a cup of olive oil over medium heat before tossing in finely chopped garlic cloves—don’t skimp here. As they dance around your large skillet releasing their aromatic charm, get ready to introduce more flavorsome friends: bell peppers (both green olives-stuffed ones if you can find them) and roasted red peppers add color and sweet notes.

Add these veggies along with some pickled jalapeños—or chiles güeros if available—for an added kick that pairs well with any traditional Mexican dish. Stirring occasionally ensures nothing sticks as each ingredient melds together harmoniously under high heat.

Mixing In Spices – Bay Leaf To Ground Cinnamon

No authentic Bacalao Mexicano would be complete without its signature spices mingling within. Drop in a bay leaf because one little leaf has power enough to infuse deep woodsy tones across our saucepan cover-less creation—as long as we remember not only does patience cook but also prevents burning.

To sprinkle magic onto our simmering concoction, ground cinnamon enters right after fresh ground pepper—it’s like hitting two birds with one stone adding warmth alongside piquancy leaving us questioning why other stews don’t follow suit?

Combining The Rest – A Symphony Of Flavors And Textures

You’ve now set up an excellent foundation for flavors so let’s continue cooking by introducing tomatoes next—the crushed kind work wonders when poured straight into our fragrant mix giving rise to both body and tanginess amidst softly boiling bubbles rising above like eager taste testers themselves.

Traditional Christmas Eve Salted Cod recipes often include capers too, which bring briny sharp flavors that perfectly complement the fish’s mild taste. These tiny but mighty ingredients add a punch of flavor, elevating the dish to new heights and making it a festive favorite.

Key Takeaway: 


To nail Bacalao Mexicano, start by soaking the salt cod overnight to balance flavor and texture. Then build your base with aromatic garlic in olive oil, adding vibrant peppers and a kick of jalapeños. Blend spices like bay leaf and cinnamon for depth before stirring in crushed tomatoes and capers for that final tangy punch.

Savoring Different Regional Takes on Bacalao Mexicano

Bacalao, a dish steeped in history, has journeyed through time and space to become a beloved staple of Mexican cuisine. Its story began during the viceroyalty era when Spanish culinary traditions fused with indigenous ingredients. This flavorful merger gave birth to an array of regional bacalao recipes that still warm countless homes during Christmas Eve celebrations.

La Vizcaína Style – A Northern Delight

In northern Mexico, La Vizcaína stands out as a favorite variation of this salted cod classic. Here’s where things get interesting: Picture succulent flakes of dried salt cod soaking up the rich hues and aromas from roasted red peppers and chiles largos; these are not just ingredients but characters playing pivotal roles in our festive tale.

The process starts by transforming the tough texture of dried salt cod into tender bites fit for royalty. It’s all about patience—immersing it in cold water, then diligently changing water until its briny armor softens enough to shred into small pieces easily mistaken for treasures found under the sea.

Next comes crafting that signature saucepan cover dance between olive oil—a liquid gold if you will—and finely chopped garlic cloves dancing together over medium heat until they whisper hints of nuttiness into the air. Toss bell peppers cut smaller than dice at Vegas’ most exclusive craps table along with slivered almonds bringing crunch akin to walking on fresh snow—this is where magic begins to simmer.

Add olives stuffed with pimientos like little gifts ready to burst their surprises upon each bite while capers add pops similar to sparklers lighting up your taste buds’ sky. Now stir in crushed tomatoes eager as kids waking up on December 25th hoping Santa left them something special; their vibrant red mingles with spices like bay leaf which plays hide-and-seek amidst other seasonings such as ground pepper and cinnamon evoking memories both sweetly nostalgic yet tantalizingly exotic—all waiting patiently under low flame whispers before meeting our star ingredient—the now delicate bacalao fish making its grand entrance back after being soaked.

For those daring souls craving authenticity, take note: add potatoes cut smaller than New Year’s resolutions alongside pickled jalapeños throwing confetti-like punches creating flavor fireworks sure never forgotten come January first. And don’t forget cup raisins adding bursts sweetness almost sinful nature against savory backdrop—an affair forbidden fruits themselves would envy.

Weave in a bunch of freshly chopped parsley, signaling rebirth with new flavors in every spoonful. It’s like watching tight-knit families gather around holiday tables year after year, cementing tradition through generations. The taste remains intact despite the passing centuries as this melange continues to simmer.

Key Takeaway: 


Bacalao Mexicano brings the holiday spirit to your table with regional twists like La Vizcaína from Northern Mexico. Imagine tender salt cod mingling with a festive medley of roasted red peppers, chiles largos, and a sauce that dances with garlic, olives, capers, and crushed tomatoes—each ingredient adding its unique spark to this historic dish.

Pairing Your Bacalao with Traditional Side Dishes

You’ve nailed the bacalao Mexicano, that savory symphony of salted cod fish known to steal the show on Christmas Eve. But what’s a star without its supporting cast? Let’s talk about those trusty sidekicks that elevate your main dish from great to unforgettable.

Corn Tortillas – The Perfect Vessel for Flavor

Nothing says Mexico City like corn tortillas, warm and pliable. They’re not just a staple; they’re a canvas waiting for the bold flavors of bacalao. Imagine scooping up tender flakes of cod stewed in crushed tomatoes and olives—each bite is an echo of tradition passed down through generations.

To really get into it, grab some crusty bread as well. It’s all about balance—the crunch against the softness of perfectly cooked potatoes cut into small cubes or perhaps pickled jalapeños lending their vinegary punch to each mouthful.

The Artistry in Sides – Bell Peppers & Chiles Largos

Bell peppers aren’t just filler—they bring roasted red sweetness and color contrast so vibrant you can almost taste them with your eyes. Pair them finely chopped for texture or sautéed until they surrender their flavor willingly into every nook of dried salt cod transformed by olive oil magic in your large skillet.

If you dare, take things up a notch with chiles largos (pickled chillies). These spicy contenders are like fireworks on your palate: bright bursts followed by smoky whispers reminding you why this dish has stood the test of time—it’s daring yet comforting at once.

Sweet Touches – Raisins & Almonds

A spoonful can transport you back to viceroyalty times when Spanish influence met native ingenuity in Mexican kitchens—a cup raisins here, slivered almonds there—and suddenly there’s depth only sweet nuances can provide amongst layers upon layers flavored generously with fresh ground pepper and bunch parsley half-wilting under heat but still fragrant enough to remind us where we come from while showing us where we could go culinarily speaking if only we dared imagine more boldly than before.

This twist is traditional Christmas, yes—but timeless too because who doesn’t love surprises especially ones this delicious?

  • Pickled Accents – Jalapeños & Peppers
  • Nothing jazzes up plates quite like pickles do. Pickled jalapeños give tang while roasted red peppers add savoriness plus visual appeal, ensuring every dish not only tastes great but also catches the eye.

Key Takeaway: 


Warm corn tortillas and crusty bread turn into flavor-packed scoops for bacalao, while roasted bell peppers and pickled chiles add color and kick. Sweet raisins and almonds infuse tradition with a twist, making every bite of this festive dish an adventurous taste journey.

Bacalao Beyond Borders – Comparisons with Global Cod Recipes

When it comes to cod, each culture brings its own spin to the table. Bacalao Mexicano stands out with its robust flavors and rich history, making it a standout dish not just in Mexico City but worldwide. So let’s put on our culinary explorer hats and see how this dried salt cod fish transforms across borders.

The Essential Base – Olive Oil and Garlic Cloves

In Bacalao Mexicano, olive oil isn’t just cooking fat; it’s a flavor vehicle that carries the essence of finely chopped garlic cloves throughout the dish. A large skillet sizzles as these foundational ingredients meld together, setting up an aromatic base that’s hard to resist. Now imagine traveling from Mexico to Italy where olive oil also reigns supreme—only here, it might be used to gently poach filets for a simple yet elegant presentation.

Moving over to Portugal—a country synonymous with salted cod—we find ‘Bacalhau à Brás’, where shredded dried salt cod pairs beautifully with onions and straw potatoes in a harmony of textures only made possible through masterful use of local olive oil varieties.

Spices and Seasonings – Bay Leaf to Ground Cinnamon

While we may add bay leaf for subtle depth or fresh ground pepper for bite in Mexican bacaloa recipes like La Vizcaína style—with bell peppers adding sweetness—the Greeks have their own version known as Bakaliaros Skordalia. Here they serve fried battered cod alongside garlic potato puree seasoned boldly but differently than ours: think zesty lemon juice meeting earthy oregano vibes.

Norwegian ‘Klippfisk’ showcases another angle by focusing more on preserving techniques than spices per se—but when prepared into dishes such as ‘Brandade’, similar layers of flavor emerge even without chiles largos or pickled jalapeños dancing around your palate like you’d find back in sunny Mexico.

Savoring Different Regional Takes on Bacalao Mexicano

Diving deeper into regional variations within Mexico itself is like opening up a treasure chest full of gastronomic jewels. Each state tweaks the classic recipe slightly—for instance by incorporating roasted red peppers instead of raw ones or tossing small pieces of cooked potatoes directly into the mix rather than serving them on the side—which goes hand-in-hand with understanding that traditions evolve while respecting roots firmly planted in heritage soil (and maybe spiced up by some pickled chillies).

This particular version comes from the north, where they have a knack for tucking green olives into the dish. It’s a clever touch that adds pops of salty flavor to your meal as you eat.

Key Takeaway: 


Bacalao Mexicano isn’t just a dish, it’s a journey. It travels from the aromatic garlic and olive oil base in Mexico to bold seasonings in Greece, simple elegance in Italy, and texture play in Portugal. Each country tweaks the classic recipe, making bacalao a global culinary chameleon with regional twists.

The Art of Selecting Quality Cod for Your Bacalao Dish

When it comes to crafting a mouthwatering bacalao dish, the secret lies in the quality of your salt cod. It’s like picking out the perfect pair of jeans; you want something that fits just right and feels great. Here’s how to nail down that premium catch.

First off, eye up that fish with suspicion—just as if someone told you they don’t like puppies (I mean, really?). You’re looking for salt cod that has a clean white appearance without any discoloration. If it looks more yellow than your grandma’s lace curtains, steer clear.

You also want your dried salt cod to be thick and meaty because nobody likes a scrawny piece of fish in their stew. Remember Goldilocks? That’s right – not too thin, not too thick; we’re after ‘just right’. And give it a good sniff while you’re at it. Freshness is key here folks—even though we’re talking about dried fish—it should smell pleasantly briny, not like an abandoned dockside.

Selecting Your Salt Cod Fish With Care

Aiming for excellence means being picky with where our salted friend comes from. Rumor has it (and by rumor I mean seasoned chefs whisper), Atlantic waters give us some top-notch candidates when scouting for our bacalao recipe contenders.

Sure enough, cooking bacalao navideño on Christmas Eve becomes less daunting when you start with excellent raw material. After all, this traditional dish didn’t become beloved by chance. Mexican families have been passing down these recipes through generations precisely because they know what works—and part of what works is choosing high-quality ingredients.

Tips on Preparing Bacalao Before Cooking Up A Storm

Picking apart your dried salt cod requires patience akin to untangling headphones left loose in your pocket—a laborious but necessary process before hitting play on creating those tasty bites. You’ll need plenty of cold water and time on hand: think 24 hours minimum or up until 48 if possible since changing water regularly helps rid excess salinity better than magic spells do.

Moving forward with gusto then involves breaking small pieces away gently yet confidently—the same way one might approach socializing at parties—to get even sizes suitable for whatever culinary masterpiece awaits ahead: whether stirring occasionally over medium heat or bravely facing high heat straight-on.

Cook Like A Pro: Perfect The Preparation Process

To make sure every bite sings louder than carolers during holidays:

  • Add chopped garlic to the pan, stirring frequently to prevent burning. This will infuse your dish with a rich aroma and enhance its flavor profile.

Key Takeaway: 


For a standout bacalao dish, be as picky with your salt cod as you are with jeans. Look for clean white fish that’s just the right thickness and smells like the sea—not an old wharf. Go for Atlantic catches and remember: good ingredients make great traditions.


Before cooking, soak your salt cod well—up to 48 hours, changing water often—to cut the saltiness. Then break it into even pieces gently but confidently before hitting the heat.


To amp up flavor, start by sautéing garlic until fragrant; it’ll make every bite of bacalao sing.

Culinary Tips for First-Time Cooks of Mexican Salted Cod

Embarking on the adventure of cooking Mexican salted cod, or bacalao mexicano, is like stepping into a vibrant tapestry woven with tradition and flavor. This dish holds its place at the heart of festive tables, especially during Christmas Eve celebrations where it’s as much about family gatherings as it is about food.

The Essential Base – Olive Oil and Garlic Cloves

Let’s talk foundation—the base that sets the stage for this classic concoction. It starts with olive oil heated in a large skillet until it sings. Then comes finely chopped garlic cloves sizzling to golden perfection. These ingredients are not just starters; they’re aromatic anchors that give your bacalao recipe its soulful depth.

In goes a chorus of bell peppers and chiles largos cut into small pieces, adding color and kick to our medley. The trick here? Don’t rush—let these veggies soften slowly over medium heat while you breathe in their earthy fragrance mingling effortlessly within your kitchen walls.

Spices and Seasonings – Bay Leaf to Ground Cinnamon

Bacalao Mexicano isn’t shy on spices either; each one plays its part in perfect harmony. A bay leaf lends an herbal note—a whisper from nature itself—while fresh ground pepper adds piquancy sharp enough to dance across taste buds without overwhelming them.

Sprinkle some ground cinnamon sparingly—it’s like magic dust that conjures up warmth with every pinch added into the mix alongside crushed tomatoes simmering gently in your saucepan cover slightly askew letting steam escape like secrets shared between old friends over low flame whispers.

Preparing the Cod – Soaking and Shredding Techniques

A critical step often daunting for novices: handling dried salt cod fish requires patience akin to nurturing a garden waiting for bloom day after changing water repeatedly every few hours—a ritual ensuring all excess salt departs leaving behind tender flakes ready for transformation under deft hands breaking fish apart by touch alone before continuing cooking journey through gentle stirrings occasionally done over high heat briefly then back down again keeping vigilant watch lest any morsel sticks unwelcome upon pan bottom betraying culinary aspirations aimed sky-high today right now inside this very pot sitting atop stove awaiting destiny fulfillment via appetite satisfaction soon thereafter surely come dinner time hour marked by hunger anticipation built throughout daylong preparations culminating moment plate presentation finally arrives amidst oohs ahhs deserved accolades well-earned indeed chef.

Discover how locals make Bacaloa à la Vizcaína, featuring green olives stuffed within layers creating salty bursts contrasting with the dish’s deep flavors. It’s a harmony of taste that showcases regional cooking techniques and traditions.

Key Takeaway: 


Dive into cooking bacalao mexicano by starting with a base of golden garlic in olive oil, letting the aromas set the stage. Add spices like bay leaf and cinnamon sparingly for warmth and depth. When prepping cod, be patient: soak it well to shed salt and flake tenderly before layering with green olives for that salty pop against rich flavors.

Celebrating Christmas with Traditional Mexican Salted Cod Recipes

When the yuletide season rolls in, Mexico City lights up with more than just festive decorations. Kitchens across the land buzz with the preparation of a cherished holiday dish: bacalao navideño. This traditional salt cod fish stew is not merely food; it’s a vessel carrying generations of family traditions and memories.

The Quintessential Christmas Eve Delight

Bacalao navideño graces dinner tables on Nochebuena—Christmas Eve—as families gather to honor both faith and heritage. The star ingredient, dried salt cod or ‘bacalao’, has swum its way into Mexican culture from distant shores since viceroyalty times, creating a bridge between continents that still stands strong today.

To truly appreciate this delicacy, one must start at its heart—the meticulous process of transforming dried salt cod into tender flakes ready for cooking. It begins days ahead as cooks soak the fish in cold water, changing water regularly to wash away excess salinity while preserving flavor.

Melding Flavors like an Artist Mixes Paints

In preparing bacalao navideño, each element plays a critical role akin to musicians in an orchestra—coming together harmoniously under skilled direction. Begin by gently sautéing finely chopped garlic in cup olive oil until fragrant—a base that sets the stage for other ingredients’ grand entrance.

From here unfolds a symphony of spices: bay leaf whispers depth while fresh ground pepper offers warmth alongside cinnamon’s subtle sweetness—all crucial notes defining this dish’s soulful melody.

A Canvas of Colors and Textures

Add layers upon layers starting with roasted red peppers and chiles largos cut into small pieces that lend vibrant hues against plump tomatoes crushed lovingly by hand before joining their companions simmering softly within your saucepan cover firmly set aside allowing flavors marry over medium heat stirring occasionally without rush nor pause but steady patience reminiscent artisans crafting masterpieces long ago.

Discover how these time-honored techniques can be yours too, perfecting them just like countless others have done throughout history.

Tying It All Together – A Melange That Tells A Story

Into our large pot go pickled jalapeños, bell peppers sliced thin, green olives stuffed, capers tossed sparingly amidst slivered almonds — each bringing texture contrast yet all working unison create complex layer upon layer flavor profile which leaves diners guessing ponderous what secret lies behind such culinary wizardry? Yet no magic simply dedication craft born love good eating passed down through generations.

Key Takeaway: 


Dive into the festive spirit with Mexico’s beloved bacalao navideño, a dish steeped in history and bursting with flavors that echo family traditions. Learn how to turn dried salt cod into a Christmas Eve masterpiece, layering spices and textures like an artist to create a symphony of taste.


Embarking on this culinary voyage, you’ve tasted the history of bacalao mexican. You’ve seen how every spice and simmer carries a story from Mexico’s vibrant heart.

Dive into your kitchen with confidence. Start with quality cod; let each ingredient shine through. Remember to soak, shred, and season with care—these steps are key to that authentic savor.

Embrace tradition when Christmas Eve comes around; share bacalao navideño as families have for generations. Keep it warm; keep it welcoming—the flavors deepen like well-kept secrets revisited.

Your feast now brims with knowledge and taste—a true testament to Mexican heritage on your plate.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Free Reports