Festive Cod & Crab Pate 🇭🇷


Enjoy this festive cod and crab pate – a tasty blend of cod, crab meat, and mashed potatoes combined with herbs, vine and olive oil, perfect for Christmas Eve or special occasions.

Recipe Intro

This is a refined variation of the traditional Italian Baccalà or Croatian Bakalar na Bijelo – cod white pate ( mash), made with dry salty cod, or simply salt cod / saltfish. The cooking process can be a bit complex and time-consuming, so I almost always prepare with fresh cod mixed with some smoked cod to attain a similar smoky aroma and taste. This method is quick, easy, and results in flavour not significantly different from the traditional preparation with salted dry cod. This dish is typically enjoyed on Christmas Eve and Easter.
In this recipe, I transformed it by adding extra ingredients; crab meat, white wine, cream, and lemon zest. Serve this cod and crab pate as a cold appetiser with various breads or enjoy it warm as the main meal on Easter or Christmas Eve.

Essential Ingredients & Substitutes
  • fresh cod – You can buy it fresh or frozen. An excellent alternative is haddock or any other white fish of your preference.
  • smoked fish – Buy a small piece of smoked fish. If smoked cod or haddock is unavailable, any other smoked white fish will suffice. For a special touch, colour, or texture, you can also prepare it with smoked salmon.
  • lobster tail – Purchase crab white meat, avoid dark meat. Subsequently, add any pre-cooked crab meat from tins or jars to the cooked fish and potatoes. If using fresh crab, simmer it together with the fish. If white crab meat isn’t available, a perfect substitute is a lobster tail for more luxurious touch. For a simpler option, langoustines (Norwegian lobster) or prawns work perfectly!
  • potatoes – For optimal texture, use a combination of half floury potatoes and half waxy potatoes.
  • olive oil – Use a high-quality extra virgin olive oil, preferably unfiltered, for a distinct taste in the pate. It’s not recommended to substitute olive oil, as it is a key ingredient in this dish. However, if necessary, use only sunflower oil.
  • herbs – Finely chop parsley and dill to ensure they blend well with the pate; avoid chunky pieces. You can replace parsley with cilantro and limit the amount of dill if preferred.
  • onion and garlic – Gently fry the garlic and onion, avoid burning, caramelising, or darkening in colour. Add garlic in the final 30 seconds, as it requires a short time to fry; longer frying may cause it to burn and turn bitter. Don’t skip the garlic – it adds a special taste note to the dish.
  • cream – For the cream, any type will suffice, but you can also replace it with cream cheese or milk, or a combination of both. The cream contributes smoothness to this festive cod and crab pate.
  • wine – The best choice is a dry white like Sauvignon Blanc, but feel free to experiment with flavours, and consider trying it with a sweeter variety, such as Riesling or Muscat.
Preparation & Cooking Tips
  • If planning to serve it as a cold appetizer, prepare it in the morning for dinner the same day or the day before. The cold pate benefits from some time to sit in the fridge. If serving it hot, there’s no need to prepare it in advance.
  • After cooking the fish, allow it to cool enough to handle by hand. Carefully go through it with your fingers, ensuring there are no bones left. Additionally, make sure to peel off the skin.
  • If you prefer a completely smooth texture, use a hand blender once you added all the ingredients
Presentation & Serving

Even though it goes by the name pate, it’s anything but your typical spread. With its rich and intricate texture, it offers a complex and satisfying dining experience. It’s not only meant for starters or canapés but is traditionally served as a main meal. Enjoy it alongside salads, vegetables, or other fish and seafood for a satisfying dining experience. Or try it with pasta as they traditionally serve in Istria, Croatia, pasta called Posutice mixed with cod and potato mash. Delicious!

cod and crab pate or mash served on brown bread with red caviar
cod and crab pate ( mash) served on blini as a canape, decorated with parsley and caviar
cod and crab pate served as a simple starter and decorated with caviar

Enjoy this tasty treat as a snack, canapé, or starter. Perfect with homemade warm bread or toasted brown or white bread. It makes a tasty canapé on blinis or you can serve it as a simple starter. For an extra touch of indulgence, top it with your favourite caviar. Drizzle with some lemon juice and enjoy!

Recipe Card

Festive Cod and Crab Pate (mash)

Enjoy this festive cod and crab pate – a tasty blend of cod, crab meat, and mashed potatoes combined with herbs, vine and olive oil, perfect for Christmas Eve or special occasions.
Servings 6 people
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Mashing 10 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes


  • 1 potato masher
  • 1 hand blender optional


  • 2 cod fillet - approx 400g
  • 1 smoked cod fillet - or other smoked fish , approx 150g
  • 1/2-1 cup white crab meat
  • 2 potato
  • 100 ml white wine
  • 1 -2 tbsp cream
  • 3-4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp dill
  • 4-5 tbsp parsley
  • Salt, pepper - to taste


  • Place the cod in a pot with enough water to cover the fish. Simmer for about 7-10 minutes.
    Once the fish is cooked, allow it to cool enough to handle it by hand. Remove all the skin and ensure it is free from bones.
    (if making with lobster tail or fresh prawns instead of crab white meat, add it to the fish to simmer together. Shell the lobster tail and cut it into small pieces, or finely chop the prawns and continue with the recipe.)
  • In a separate pot boil the potato. Drain.
  • Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil for about 3 minutes. Pour in the wine and let it evaporate by half or more. Remove from the heat.
  • In a bowl, combine the cooked potato and the fish. Add herbs, lemon zest, and onions, then begin mashing.
    Slowly add cream and olive oil, and season with salt and black pepper.


This cod and crab pate is roughly 3000 calories in total, with each of the six servings averaging around 500 calories. Please note that these figures are approximations and may vary based on specific ingredient choices and variations in portion sizes
Calories: 500kcal
Course: dinner, Main Course, starter
Cuisine: Croatian, Fusion, Italian

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Spicetraveller.com © Copyright 2024. All rights reserved.