We had this dish for the first time at Maria Portuguesa, a tiny tapas restaurant in the beautiful city of Coimbra, Portugal. It’s quite a hike uphill to get to the restaurant, but the homey vibe and tasty food were worth it. If you have the chance, I really recommend a visit. The restaurant serves local, simple ingredients put together in creative and delicious ways. Everything we tried there was very good, but the cod and portobello combination really left a lasting impression.
We had many different variations of cod dishes throughout Portugal, and this was one of the few we wanted to recreate at home to be able to have again and again. So, thanks to Maria Portuguesa for the inspiration, and now I’m happy to share my version of their signature dish – “Cod on a Round Bed”!
Cod on a Round Bed
- 1 lb dry salted cod bits (boneless)
- 4 large portobello caps, cleaned and stems removed
- 2 large onions, sliced thin
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 Tbsp each extra virgin olive oil and butter
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1/2 tsp of herbes de Provence
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 small tins or 1 can (about 300 ml) of thick cream
- Panko bread crumbs (optional)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Soak cod bits in plenty of cold water for at least 4 hours (or overnight), changing the water 2-3 times. Boil cod in fresh water for 8-10 mins, drain, let cool enough to handle, and shred into small pieces taking out any leftover bones. (This can be done in advance, and the fish can be kept in the fridge for a few days to be used in this dish or other preparation of your choice that calls for cod in small pieces. You can also pulse the boiled pieces in the food processor for a finer texture.)
- Heat butter and olive oil in a large pot, add the onions and cook over medium heat until soft and caramelized. Add the minced garlic, pepper flakes, herbs de Provence, bay leaf, and sauté until fragrant. Add the cod pieces and thick cream, and simmer for a few minutes to blend the flavours. Adjust the salt (if needed) and add pepper to taste. Remove from heat and take the bay leaf out.
- Turn the portobello caps upside down, drizzle with olive oil and top with the creamy cod mixture, dividing between them. Sprinkle with panko (if using) and cook in the pre-heated Air Fryer (180° C) for 7 minutes. Alternatively, you can bake in a pre-heated oven (350° F or 180° C) until mushrooms are soft and topping has browned.
- Serve with a nice salad and some Portuguese bread. Enjoy!