I had this traditional Cretan dish cooked for me on Palm Sunday by Maria Hamilaki, a fantastic lady cook at the village Agios Spiridonas, in Sitia. Salted Bacalhau was used for many years in island cooking especially in villages that were on the mountains and their access to sea was not possible.  Tomato paste is used instead of fresh tomatoes because of the season.


Olive oil 1/3cups

Bakalhau (salted cod) 600grms cut to portions of 100grms

Onion white 1 big one diced

Leeks 2 sliced

Fresh fennel about 2 cups full chopped and some of the soft stalks

Potatoes 500grms peeled and diced

Tomato paste 1/2cup

Salt and pepper to taste


Soak the bakalhau pieces in water at room temperature for 24 hours changing the water every 6 hours

Pour olive oil in a soup pot and cook the onions and leeks for about 5 minutes

Add the fennel and top with enough water to cover all ingredients. Bring to boil and simmer for about 15 minutes.

Add the tomato paste and cook for another 5 minutes.

Add the fish and the potatoes in the stew, add some more water to cover the fish and simmer for about 20 minutes more for most of the water to evaporate, potatoes must be cooked and the sauce thickens.

Adjust the salt and pepper to taste.

Recipe from Maria Hamilaki

Watch video here