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Saltfish Salad (Buljol)

30 mins
Kwame Onwuachi
30 mins


Spice Pickle
  • tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 10 whole coriander seeds
  • 1/4 habanero pepper, stemmed and roughly chopped
  • 1 long, thin slice fresh ginger
Peppa Sauce
  • 6 habanero chiles, stemmed and roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup Spice Pickle (recipe above)
  • 1/2 pound saltfish (dried and salted cod)
  • 1/4 medium white onion, diced
  • 1 Roma tomato, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons Peppa Sauce (recipe above)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 avocado, peeled, pitted and sliced
  • 1 loaf Italian bread, to serve

Chef notes

Saturday mornings were not complete without a plate of saltfish salad, avocados and Italian bread at my grandparents' house. This dish has so much flavor and history. It's great as a snack or a complete meal.

Technique tip: Don't skip out on the preparation of the salt cod or else it might be too salty.


For the Spice Pickle:

Heat a medium nonreactive pan over high heat, then add all ingredients and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat, let cool and strain. Reserve the liquid and discard the solids.

For the Peppa Sauce:

Combine all the ingredients in a food processor. Process until smooth, then transfer to a jar. Place a sheet of wax paper on top and then screw on the lid (the paper prevents the vinegar from reacting with the lid).

Let sit in a cool, dark place for a day, then move the jar to the refrigerator.

For the Buljol:

Place the salt cod in a large bowl or dish and cover with boiling water. Let cool, then cover and store overnight in the refrigerator. The next day, drain and rinse the fish. Add to a large pot and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium. Simmer the saltfish for 40 minutes. Drain, let cool, then shred into medium-sized flakes and set aside.

In a medium non-reactive bowl, fold together all ingredients except for avocado. Let marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes, then divide the salad between plates and top with sliced avocado. Serve with Italian bread.