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How to desalt cod

How to desalt cod


  • 15 minutes
  • For 4 people
  • € 5 / person
  • 140kcal per 100g.

All the secrets and tips for desalting cod at home . Today we leave you with a classic in my kitchen, a cooking technique or trick that is most useful for a lot of recipes, desalting the cod well .

A practical tip for which following the step by step of this post, you will have very good results. All your recipes with cod will come out delicious, dishes with the exact point of salt in the cod. The cod desalination technique is so important that it determines that the dish is exquisite or impossible to eat due to excess salt. So with a high quality product we can spoil a great recipe.

The salt cod is a key ingredient in Portuguese cooking and the recipes for Easter . The desalting of the cod gives it a flavor and texture that have little to do with fresh cod (much milder in flavor). Salt is used as a preservative, salted cod provides large amounts of sodium (8.1 mm x per 100 gr.) Which we reduce by half with the advice that I give below.

Its easy preservation and convenient transportation makes cod a perfect resource for many recipes. A classic in northern cuisine, especially in Basque and Galician cuisine. A fish that you can consume throughout the year, affordable and that helps eat very good quality fish in the interior of Spain.

His salting treatment has contributed to that in Spain we have incredible recipes, perhaps one of my favorites, and with great success on the blog. You will find the traditional cod with pil pil , the delicious Biscayan cod , the colorful cod in green sauce or the simple cod with tomato

Before I start with the cod

  • The salted cod is covered with a layer of salt (depending on the quality of the pieces that we buy) more or less large. Before starting with the soaking we must clean that layer under the tap with cold water. If we do not do this step, that is, doing the soaking without removing the salt would take longer to desalt.
  • To desalinate the cod loins we must first cut them if they are very large. Normally the thick loins are those used in preparations with sauce and longer cooking (for example in tomato sauce or Biscay).
  • The thinner parts will be used for making the pil-pil. Finally, the trimmings are left for scrambled, cold or warm salads and to fill peppers.

Step by step to desalinate the cod

  • To desalt the cod, the piece of fish must be covered in plenty of water. We place all the pieces with the skin up, it is where more salt accumulates and thus we help it to go down.
  • The thick parts will desalt for 48 hours, with water change approximately every 6 hours. The finer parts will desalinate for 36 hours, with a water change every 8 hours.
  • The remains and the crumbled cod usually desalt under the cold water tap for 10 minutes but if you do not want to spend a lot of water, you can also leave them to soak for 2 hours with a change of water after 1 hour, that is enough.
  • While the fish is desalting it must 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
  • To know if the cod is already desalted we will try a pinch of the central area of ​​the fillet. Before cooking we take the cod out of the fridge and put the pieces on a kitchen cloth or absorbent paper. The fish must be dry before using it in the preparation of dishes with sauce. In this way, the cod will recover the room temperature and retain fluffiness.

Tips for desalting cod

  • Quick desalting with small pieces of cod, crumbs. If we want to eat the crumbs and have forgotten to desalinate it, another trick is, once it has been cleaned in water to remove the coarse salt, put it in milk until it is covered and boil it. The crumbs will be ready in just a few minutes.
  • To obtain a juicier cod, in the last three hours change the water for milk. This improves the texture and gives it a whiter color. We will give it more flavor if we add a garlic clove to the milk. It can be put in milk longer. Depends on the tastes.
  • If you have desalted the cod and it takes time to use it, it may take on a little smell, which can spread to the refrigerator. To avoid this, put half a lemon next to the cod and this will prevent the smell from spreading.

And if I still have salted cod. Tricks to save the recipe

  • Excess salt can ruin the best recipe with the best cod loin in the world, even though it cost you € 20. Following the step by step of this tip you should have no problem. BUT if it’s still salty, here’s a trick.
  • If the cod still contains too much salt after all the water changes you can put it back to soak for 2-3 hours in cold milk. Adding also some garlic with its skin.
  • Boil the cod for 5 minutes in water before stewing with sauce.
  • Accompany the cod of sauces with a lot of onion and tomato. In this way they will absorb part of the fish salt in the sauce itself.
  • Introduce a raw onion cut in half or a piece of hard bread while stewing the cod. This will absorb some of the excess salt.
  • Cooking the classic vigil soup without salt and rectifying at the end is a classic. Or also cook the chickpeas without salt, in this way the flavor is reduced because it is absorbed by the legumes.
  • To get a tastier cod it should not be cooked for too long. We must avoid boiling so that it does not harden.


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