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Puerto Rican Fish Stew (Bacalao)

Bacalao, salted dried codfish, is the defining ingredient in traditional Puerto Rican fish stew, but salt cod requires overnight soaking and several rinses in cool water before it can be used, so we opt for fresh fish in this quick version. Serve with crusty rolls to soak up the juices.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 45 min
  • Prep: 25 min
  • Cook: 20 min
  • Yield: 4 servings, about 1 cup each
  • Nutrition Info
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2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 pound flaky white fish, such as haddock, tilapia or cod (see Tip), cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces

1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes

1 Anaheim or poblano chile pepper, chopped

1/4 cup packed chopped fresh cilantro

2 tablespoons sliced pimento-stuffed green olives

1 tablespoon capers, rinsed

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup water, as needed

1 avocado, chopped (optional)


  1. Heat oil in a large high-sided skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
  2. Add fish, tomatoes and their juices, chile pepper, cilantro, olives, capers, oregano and salt; stir to combine. Add up to 1/2 cup water if the mixture seems dry. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat. Serve warm or at room temperature, garnished with avocado (if using).
  3. Opt for firmer hook-and-line-caught haddock or U.S.-farmed tilapia. Pacific cod also works, but will be more flaky.