Joy Of Spanish Cooking

Bacalao (cod) al Gratin Español


Can you believe that in 2 days it will be fall?!? Oh my! Time flies. It has been an amazing summer, and I feel like I don’t want it to end.

Today I made a cod dish. I think my mind is already thinking fall, because this is a nice cool-weather dish.  Cod is the workhorse of the fish species in Spain, at least for cooking. It is very versatile, historically abundant, and a tasty fish! My grandma has so many cod recipes that I swear that I could make cod every day for a month and change the recipe every day. (I don’t know if it’s a good idea though…!)

The name of the recipe is Bacalao al Gratin Español which translates to Spanish Broiled Cod. Gratin is a culinary technique which I’m sure a lot of you are familiar with. Basically, whichever ingredient you use is topped with a browned crust, often using breadcrumbs, grated cheese, egg and/or butter. A gratin is baked under an overhead grill or broiler to form a golden crust with a nice crunchy texture. In this case, I used bread crumbs.

This recipe is very easy t0 execute. You can also make it ahead of time! That’s convenient 🙂 Alright, let get into it…

Ingredients for 4 servings: 

  • 4 cod fillets -fresh or thawed if frozen- (2 lbs or about a 1/2 lb per person)
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • About 1 lb fresh and ripe tomatoes
  • 2 cloves chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons bread crumbs
  • Salt and pepper


Bring a pot of water to a boil. Core out the stems and slice a shallow “X” in the bottom of each tomato. Drop the whole tomatoes in the boiling water for about 40 to 60 seconds or until they start peeling or shrinking. Strain the tomatoes with cold water and peel them.

Add the tomatoes and the chopped garlic to a sauce pan with butter on medium heat and mash them with a (potato) masher. Stir and add the paprika.

If the sauce looks smooth, season with salt and pepper and remove from heat. If the sauce is still chunky, continue to mash it or you can blend it with a blender.

*If you want, you can make the sauce ahead of time. Just keep the sauce in the fridge and when you’re ready, reheat it on the stove for a few minutes on medium heat.


Mix the flour, salt and pepper in a bowl.  Dredge the cod in the flour mixture.


Heat 1/4 cup of oil in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until the skin is nicely browned. Remove from pan and transfer to a baking dish.

Add the sauce on top of the cod and add the bread crumbs, spreading them all over the cod.


Broil for a few minutes until the surface of the cod gets browned and a nice crust starts to form. You can brown the crust to your liking but keep an eye on the broiler. It can go from a beautiful golden brown to black and burnt in no time! Now it’s ready to be served!

*You can also prepare the fish ahead of time if you want. Remove the cod from the heat and either keep it in the baking dish that you will broil it or on a plate, let it cool down, cover it and store it in the fridge.

I served this cod with homemade gnocchi with a brown-butter sage sauce. (Gnocchi recipe will be in an upcoming blog!) You can serve it with your favorite side dish.

Bon Profit and enjoy the last days of Summer!


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Bacalao (cod) al Gratin Español

by Ivette time to read: 2 min
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