Serbian-Croatian Salt Cod With Potatoes (Bakalar s Krumpirom)

Piece of fresh cod sprinkled with salt and herbs, on skimmer, close-up

Isabelle Rozenbaum & Frederic Cirou / PhotoAlto Agency RF Collections / Getty Images

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 90 mins
Soak: 48 hrs
Total: 49 hrs 50 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
419 Calories
19g Fat
27g Carbs
35g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 419
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 19g 25%
Saturated Fat 3g 14%
Cholesterol 85mg 28%
Sodium 409mg 18%
Total Carbohydrate 27g 10%
Dietary Fiber 4g 14%
Protein 35g
Calcium 101mg 8%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This recipe for salt cod with potatoes or bakalar s krumpirom is popular with Serbians and Croatians, especially for fasting times like Lent, Advent, and other religious occasions. Since the salt cod has to be soaked for two days to remove the excess salt before cooking, plan accordingly. Sliced or chopped onion can be sautéed with the garlic if desired.


  • 2 pounds cod (salted)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Optional: salt (to taste)
  • Optional: pepper (to taste)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 8 slices lemon (rind removed)
  • 1 pound potatoes
  • 4 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
  • Optional: 1 large onion (finely chopped)
  • Garnish: 1/2 cup parsley (chopped)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Soak 2 pounds salt cod in lukewarm water for 2 days, changing the water twice a day. (After soaking, do not remove the skin and bones.)

  3. Place cod in a large saucepan or Dutch oven and cover with water. Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, salt to taste, pepper to taste, 1 bay leaf, and 8 lemon slices with rind removed. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook over medium-low heat for 1 hour or until tender.

  4. Take the cod out of the water and remove the skin and bones, and discard but reserve the water. Break the cod into pieces.

  5. In a separate saucepan, cook the 1 pound potatoes with the skin on. When tender, but not mushy, remove potatoes and peel as soon as cool enough to handle. Cut potatoes into 1/4-inch slices or quarters and set aside.

  6. Put what remains of the 1/2 cup olive oil, 4 finely chopped cloves of garlic, 1 large finely chopped onion (if using), and pepper to taste in a large skillet.

  7. Sauté garlic until soft and then add the fish, potatoes, and as much reserved cooking water as necessary to achieve a consistency that is not too dry. Cook over low heat until heated throughout and flavors have married, about 15 minutes. Add more oil, if necessary.

  8. Garnish with 1/2 cup chopped parsley. It can be eaten warm or at room temperature.

  9. Serve and enjoy.