You’d had to know I’d be sharing a cod dish after a week of vacation in beautiful Newfoundland, right? Pil Pil is a traditional Basque dish where the olive oil sauce is thickened by the salt cod skin releasing gelatin. Because salt cod sold on the prairies tends to be of the skinless preparation, I had to find another way to thicken the sauce. That’s where the lemon juice comes in. As for the Newfoundland savoury, it is significantly different from summer savoury. If you need to substitute something, try dried parsley. The flavour is nowhere near that of savoury, but the flavour would work well with the other ingredients.

Time: 30 minutes

Serves: 6


400g boneless salt cod filet – cut in six
160ml olive oil
2 cloves garlic – finely chopped
1g dried Newfoundland savoury
1 red Thai chili – seeded and thinly sliced
5ml lemon juice


Soak the cod in a large bowl of water in the refrigerator for at least 48 hours, changing the water a minimum of four times. Drain the cod and dry it with paper towels. Set aside.

Place a pan or pot (just large enough to hold the cod in a single layer, but don’t add the cod yet) on medium heat.

Add the oil, garlic, savoury and chili, stirring for thirty seconds.

Turn burner to medium-low and add the cod. Set heat to maintain gentle bubbling around the cod. Cook for seven minutes.

Carefully turn the cod over and cook for another seven minutes while spooning the oil over the cod often.

Remove from heat and plate the cod.

Whisk the lemon juice into the oil to form a sauce. Top the cod with the sauce and serve immediately.

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