Meia desfeita de Bacalhau (Salad of Salted Cod and Chickpeas)

We had Meia desfeita de Bacalhau as a petisco (tapa) at the Tasting Room in Cascais, on the coast near Lisbon. A wine and petiscos (tapas) bar that I can strongly recommend, by the way, for their excellent selection of wines by the glass.

“Meia desfeita” literally means “undone sock”, and I don’t have a clue why this typical dish from Lisbon is called that way. It is a salad of shredded bacalhau, chickpeas (garbanzo beans), onion, olive oil, and parsley. According to Wikipedia it can also include garlic, sweet smoked paprika, vinegar, hard-boiled egg, and can be served with boiled potatoes. But I didn’t notice any of those ingredients at the Tasting Room. There it was served as a salad at room temperature, but it can also be served warm.

At the Tasting Room it was served with parsley, but it is also nice with the very Portuguese cilantro. Usually parsley is used with bacalhau because cilantro might overpower the delicate flavor of the bacalhau, but if you use only a little cilantro, that is not an issue.

Bacalhau, salted and dried cod, is a very popular ingredient in Portuguese cuisine. After soaking it is ready to eat and has a very nice flavor, which comes out nicely in this simple but tasty recipe.


For 1 serving as petisco

150 grams (1 cup) soaked and shredded bacalhau

175 grams (1 cup) drained cooked chickpeas (garbanzo beans)

1 small onion, sliced

good quality extra virgin olive oil

salt and freshly ground black pepper

fresh minced flat leaf parsley (or cilantro), about 2 tablespoons

white wine vinegar (optional)

sweet smoked paprika (optional)

hard-boiled eggs (optional)

boiled potatoes (optional)


I am not fond of raw onions, so I briefly sautéed the onions in a bit of olive oil until translucent, then I turned off the heat and allowed the onions to cool.

Combine the onions with the chickpeas, shredded bacalhau, and parsley (or cilantro).

Add extra virgin olive oil, salt, and freshly ground black pepper to taste, and toss to mix.

The meia desfeita is now ready to be served.

Wine pairing

This is great with many medium-bodied dry white wines. A logical choice would be a Vinho Verde. That wine from the North of Portugal used to be low in alcohol and slightly fizzy, but nowadays more serious wine is made from 100% Alvarinho.


Troccoli (fresh pasta from Puglia) with fresh tuna and cherry tomatoes is a wonderful pasta dish that reminds us of summer.

5 thoughts on “Meia desfeita de Bacalhau (Salad of Salted Cod and Chickpeas)

  1. What an appetizing offering ! So simple yet so different ! Friends have promised to drop in some bacalhau later in the month for your previous recipe . . . think I’ll ask for a little more to try this ! Neither coriander nor raw onion is a problem hereabouts . . . I can eat the latter, if sweet, like an apple . . . 🙂 !

    Liked by 1 person

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