Fish and seafood recipes

Garlic cod

Garlic cod


  • Easy
  • 90 minutes
  • For 4 people
  • 3.5 € / person
  • 283kcal per 100g.

How do ajoarriero cod

Depending on the area in which we are located in the Basque Country or Navarra, there are variations in the ingredients and preparation of this fish recipe .

The presence or not of potatoes in the stew. Adding egg as a final colophon, use one or other vegetables. They are different forms of preparation for one of the most classic and representative dishes of these communities in northern Spain.

It was the muleteers, on their tours of the northern part of Spain in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, who created one of the culinary delights of our country, the ajoarriero or garlic arriero .

Although today I bring you the recipe for cod prepared in this way, cod with garlic, this dish is originally linked to its preparation with crayfish and then with lobster.

The muleteers , on their way from Bilbao to Zaragoza, normally prepared their meals on the edge of the roads and, if possible, al fresco on the banks of the rivers. It was in those rivers where they desalinated cod and got the crabs that, at that time, abundantly populated the rivers.

Cooked with a sauce of garlic and olive oil, to which they added some vegetables, such as peppers and tomatoes, they achieved what we now know as ajoarriero in their name.

Today we can find lobster garlic and other seafood, cod , of course, and even snails . Even versions such as the cod in garlic sauce from Cuenca in cream or of course the brandade of cod that as an appetizer is delicious.

In my opinion, any product we prepare with this sauce will be first class, worthy of the best table.

How to desalinate cod for ajoarriero

  1. If we choose the option of a salted cod fillet, we must desalinate it. To do this we must first cut it if it is very large.
  2. To desalt the cod, the piece of fish must be covered in plenty of water. 
  3. The thick parts will desalt for 48 hours, with water change approximately every 6 hours.
  4. The finer parts will desalinate for 36 hours, with a water change every 8 hours.
  5. Always with the cod in the fridge, if possible, or in a cool place.

Preparation of the cod and the pil pil for the ajoarriero

  1. If we are going to use dried choriceros peppers, we have to hydrate them in order to remove the pulp. We leave them to soak in hot water making a cut, for 2 hours.
  2. In a small saucepan, brown the two garlic cloves cut into sheets and the chilli.
  3. We cook over low heat, until we see that they have acquired color. We put out the fire.
  4. In a container suitable for the oven, place the cod fillets with the skin facing up.
  5. Cover with the oil, garlic and chilli and bake, with the oven previously heated to 180º C, for about 8 minutes.
  6. We remove the cod from the oven and let it temper before removing the skin and bones.
  7. We reserve the oil that we have used and the skin of the cod that we will use to make the pil pil.
  8. Crumble the cod into small flakes and reserve it.
  9. We put the oil again in a saucepan and add the cod skin.
  10. Heat the oil over medium low heat, stirring the saucepan so that the gelatin on the skin is released.
  11. The oil should not be very hot, when we see that it starts to get very hot, we turn off the heat and continue stirring until a whitish cream is formed. We reserve the pil pil.

Preparation of the ajoarriero cod

  1. In a wide saucepan, fry the onion and the red and green peppers cut into small cubes.
  2. Fry over medium or low heat, until it is soft but not browned. This step can take us about 15 or 20 minutes.
  3. Add the choricero pepper pulp and continue cooking for 5 more minutes. If we have used dried peppers, at this time we will have them fully hydrated.
  4. With the help of a spoon, scratch the inside of the pepper, removing its pulp, which we will add to the sauce.
  5. Add the tomato sauce and cook for about 10 more minutes. 
  6. Add to the casserole the cod that we have crumbled into flakes and the pilpil that we have reserved.
  7. We cook 2 or 3 minutes to integrate flavors, taste the point of salt and turn off the heat.

I encourage you to try doing it at home. This suggestion is one more to enjoy all the Easter recipes you have on the blog.

You can see all the photos of the step by step of this cod from Ajoarriero in this album.

Tips for a perfect garlic cod

  • While the fish is desalting it should remain at a temperature between 6 and 8 º C in the refrigerator, since at room temperature it can ferment.
  • If it happens to you, you will notice right away, it has happened to me before, the smell is … well, I don’t need to describe it. Inside the fridge we avoid temperature variations, which would accelerate or delay desalination, especially in summer.
  • We do not add salt to the ajoarriero since the cod will provide theirs and surely it will not be necessary. But it never hurts to try, just in case we have been desalting the cod.
  • We can cook with the pulp of choricero pepper already purchased, but another option is to do it with dry peppers, in this case, you have to hydrate them in water.
  • This dish is perfect to enjoy both hot and cold, on toast as a luxury appetizer or as part of an upscale menu.

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