How to Desalt, Cook and Shred Salt Cod

(Cómo Desalar, Cocinar y Desmenuzar el Bacalao)


The Spanish term referring to the dried and salted codfish is Bacalao.  We prepare a variety of dishes with the salt cod after it has been desalted and cooked.   For Instance, the dishes that we mainly prepare with the salt cod are the Salt Cod Salad, Stewed Salt Cod and Salt Cod Fritters.

I grew up consuming the authentic salt cod which is purchased with skin and bones.  However, I prefer the salted Pollock fillets, a member of the codfish family, to reduce the preparation time.  Even though you still need to desalt both the authentic salt cod and Salted Pollock fillets, you eliminate, however, the skin and bone removal process that is required when using the authentic salt cod.  Watch my YouTube video below for examples of the salt cod in both forms.

A Little Salt Cod History

When Spain was defeated during the invasion of the Spanish Armada in 1588, England took control of the fishing areas located near the coast of Newfoundland.  This caused a huge delay in shipping codfish to Puerto Rico.  Finally, England started exporting the codfish to Puerto Rico in 1765.   The codfish, when caught, was coated with salt and dried to prevent it from spoiling during its long voyage.  For these reasons, we prefer the codfish that is dried and salted (salt cod) as opposed to fresh caught codfish.  

Why Do We Desalt The Salt Cod?

Salted Pollock Fillets (pictured) is a member of the codfish family and also caught in the frigid waters of the North Atlantic – NewFoundland.

A white film appears on the fish due to the salt application.  When this method is used to preserve the codfish, the water content is reduced, creating a firm and dry texture.  Therefore, In order to use the codfish in a dish, the fish must be rehydrated and the excess salt removed to form a softer, flaky and flavorful texture.   

How To Desalt The Salted Pollock Fillets!

Rinse the salted Pollock fillets in cold running water to eliminate the excess salt.   

Place the Pollock fillets in a bowl.  Fill the bowl with enough water to cover the fish and soak for 4 hours with two changes of fresh water.   

However, you can eliminate the 4 hours of soaking by opting to soak the Pollock overnight in the refrigerator.

After soaking the salted Pollock fillets, drain the water from bowl.  

We Are Ready To Cook The Pollock Fillets!

Place the Pollock fillets in a saucepan and pour enough fresh water to cover the fillets.  Cook over medium high heat for 15 minutes.  

After cooking for 15 minutes, taste a piece of the fillet to determine if the salt content is to your liking. 

If still too salty, repeat the boiling process with fresh water until the salt content is reduced to your taste.  This process is only to cook the fish and still remove the excess salt  but not to eliminate the salt content entirely.

We Are Ready To Shred The Pollock Fillets!

Add the cooked Pollock fillets in a bowl.  Let completely cool.  Shred the Pollock fillets with your hand.

You are now ready to prepare many dishes with the salty, flaky and shredded salt cod!

Click on the button below to watch my YouTube video on How to Desalt, Cook and Shred Cod Fish!

Recipe and Nutritional Facts

Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is approximate only.  Please refer to our Nutritional Facts Disclaimer for more information.


How to Desalt, Cook and Shred Salt Cod

  • Author: Aida's Kitchen
  • Prep Time: 5 Hours
  • Cook Time: 20 Minutes
  • Total Time: 5 hours 20 minutes
  • Yield: 8 Servings 1x


Learn how to desalt, cook and shred salt cod in advance to prepare many delicious salt cod dishes that are so popular in our culture.



  • 1 pound Salted Pollock Fillets


  1. Rinse the pollock fillets under cold running water.
  2. Place in bowl and soak in cold water for 4 hour with two to three changes of fresh water.
  3. Pour 6 cups of water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil.  Add the pollock fillets and boil for 15 mintues.
  4. Taste the cooked pollock fillets for salt content.  If still too salty, repeat the boiling process with fresh water until salt content is reduced to your liking.
  5. Shred the cooked pollock fillets with your hands.
  6. Now you are ready to prepare many salt cod recipes that are so popular in our culture.

  • Category: Food Preparation Techniques
  • Cuisine: Puerto Rican Cuisine

Keywords: How to Desalt, Cook and Shred Salt Cod

Nutritional Facts Disclaimer

Category: Food Preparation Techniques, Recipes

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