Miriam SpiceTraveller

Traditional north Italian and coastal Croatian Christmas Eve dinner: salted cod with potato, garlic and parsley and good amount of the best olive oil you can find. Also very popular on Easter.
Original recipe calls for dry salted cod, which is then soaked in cold water for 2 days, then rinsed and boiled for a long time, preferably in a pressure cooker. There are variations and you can customise it according to your own taste. For example it is prepared with fresh garlic, i personally don’t like it so i always fry it for a few seconds and then add to the cod. You can mix it with crab or lobster meat for a more luxurious version. If you can't find dry salted cod in your local supermarket, fresh cod will be just as good but make sure you mix it with a piece of smoked cod. 1/3 of smoked with 2/3 of fresh or if you want a stronger taste use 1/2 and 1/2. 
You can add some extra ingredients, for example fry some onions, half amount of parsley, add white wine and leave it to evaporate little bit, then add garlic , fry for a few seconds and add to the potato and fish.  It also goes well with dill, but parsley is a must! 


1.   If you use dry and salted cod, make sure you soak it in cold water for 2-3 days, it is very important to change water at least once a day. After this, cook it for about 45 min in a pressure pot.

2.   Place potatoes with skin in hot boiling water, add salt. Boil for about 45 minutes. If you use fresh cod, place both types of cod in a hot boiling water, add salt and simmer for about 15 minutes. When the fish is cooked, drain water and leave it to cool. 

3.   Put chunks of cod in a bowl after removing skin and bones , use your finger to flake the fish as you go through it. 

4.   Peel potatoes and add to the bowl with fish. Mash the potato and fish together with a fork, you can use potato masher. Add milk, butter, garlic, chopped parsley, black pepper and salt to taste. Mix it all well until properly combined. Now add olive oil and stir well with a wooden spoon, mash the potato and cod until very smooth. At this stage you can use a mixer to make a fine pate.

5.   Spread over warm freshly baked bread


  • 400g – salted dry cod, if you can not find it then get 300g of good quality fresh cod fillet + 100g of smoked cod fillet
  •  2 – large potatoes, good for mash
  •  100ml –  good quality extra virgin olive oil, unfiltered
  •  100ml – milk
  •  20g – butter
  •  3 cloves – garlic, very finely chopped, can be add as fresh or lightly fried for 30 seconds
  •  1/2 cup – finely chopped parsley, basically lots! 
  •  1 tsp freshly grounded black pepper
  •  1 tsp – sea salt
  •  lemon slices to garnish

Here are some photos of the cod mash from our Christmas Eve and Easter dinners over the past years:

Cod and potato mash

Cod and potato mash - Easter 2006

Cod and potato mash served with roasted peppers and capers

Cod and potato mash served with roasted peppers and capers - Christmas Eve 2008

Cod and potato mash

Cod and potato mash - Christmas Eve 2009

Cod and potato mash

Cod and potato mash - Christmas Eve 2010

Cod and potato mash

Cod and potato mash - Christmas Eve 2011