The Ultimate Comfort Dish In Portugal Is Salty Cod And Scrambled Eggs

You know those days: it's cold and raining, you're too lethargic, or maybe you're just feeling sad because your favorite sports team lost an important match. What to do? Well, not many things couldn't be fixed by eating lots of tasty food. Comfort food, to be exact. But what exactly makes a dish comforting? CNN reports that comfort foods must be "delicious, sentimental, and restorative." We're already thinking about ramen. But there are many more comfort foods enjoyed in different parts of the world. 

In Mexico, it's chilaquiles, consisting of Mexican food leftovers and a spicy sauce. In North America, creamy macaroni and cheese is the ultimate comfort dish, while in Egypt, people opt for koshary, a delectable mixture of fried onions, pasta, lentils, vinegar, and a sauce based on tomatoes and hot peppers. But what's the situation like in Portugal? 

The Portuguese really, really love their cod, and locals say "that there are 1,001 ways to cook cod," which is called bacalhau in Portuguese (per Portugal). And although it's a bit unusual for the rest of us, it might not be a surprise that the ultimate comfort dish in Portugal consists of salty cod and scrambled eggs.

Bacalhau à brás originates from Lisbon's Barrio Alto neighborhood

Interestingly enough, the Portuguese began enjoying cod in the 14th century, and it has been a staple in the country ever since. Cod is eaten on a daily basis, but it's especially popular during the festive Christmas season. According to Food And Road, Portugal consumes a whopping "20% of the world's volume of cod." With such numbers, it's no wonder that there are many traditional and delicious cod-based dishes in Portugal. For example, a dish called bacalhau à Gomes de Sá dates back to the late 19th century, and it's made by baking a mixture of flaked cod, milk, garlic, onions, potatoes, and olive oil in the oven. 

But the most comforting cod dish for the Portuguese is called bacalhau à brás, originating from Lisbon's Barrio Alto neighborhood. It's made with shredded salted cod, onions, eggs, and thinly sliced potatoes, also known as straw potatoes. Once prepared, the dish is typically topped with black olives and chopped parsley (via Food And Wine). 

If you've never tried salted cod, don't worry, as Taste Of Lisboa reports that this dish is very much a gateway drug or introduction into the Portuguese's fascination with the fish. You can easily find bacalhau à brás at small family restaurants called tascas, and if you're feeling like spending money, the dish is also made in upscale restaurants (per Roads And Kingdoms).