Today Virginia, author of Sweet&Sour , brings us a classic and totally Bilbao recipe. The Club Ranero cod, along with the Biscayan cod and of course the pil-pil cod are one of the best-known dishes of Bilbao gastronomy.

The cod at Club Ranero is nothing more than a pil-pil cod to which a fry of pepper, onion and tomato with choricero pepper has been added.

Its origin places it at the beginning of the 20th century on a summer morning in 1910. According to the Marquesa de Parabere in the traditional Bilbao Society, and according to others in the Txakoli Tablas de Indautuxu, also known as the headquarters of the Club Ranero for the fans of its partners to the frog game.

In any case, the creator of the Club Ranero cod is clear on both sides, the cook of the Bilbaína Society Alejandro Caveriviere , of French origin, but Bilbaíno at heart (you know that those from Bilbao are born where they want). And the occasion, some friends around a table.

The story goes that while some partners were playing frog and having prepared a good pil-pil cod to eat, other partners showed up. His cook Alejandro Caveriviere had nothing else prepared, so he had to stretch out the condumio . And no other idea occurred to him than to stretch the pil-pil with the products he had available, adding a kind of fried peppers, tomatoes and onion, finally linked with choricero pepper meat.

The result was so popular that apparently at that time it was given the name Club Ranero cod . Some say that it was simply the imagination of Alejandro Caveriviere that was the cause of this exquisite recipe.

cod in pil pil

Fleur de Ligne salad bowl , Le Crueset Damascus steel knife , Bérard wooden board and Le Creuset low casserole cocotte

Its mystery is none other than a good cod and a good extra virgin olive oil, together with a good technique to bind the gelatin that the cod gives off. Below I tell you how to do it so that you get ten.

Let's go with the recipe!


(for 4 people)

  • 4 desalao cod loins of about 200gr each
  • Extra virgin olive oil (I like it intense, but nowadays a more fruity arbequina is preferred)
  • 3 heads of garlic sliced ​​and de-germed/ liter (approx.)
  • 2 chillies

For the ranero club fry

  • 3 onions
  • 2 green bell peppers
  • 3 peeled and seeded tomatoes without their vegetation water
  • 5 Chorizo ​​peppers (its meat)
  • extra virgin olive oil


  1. We start by desalting the cod if we have not bought it desalted. To do this, we wash the cod slices well, to remove excess salt and put them to desalt in cold water in the fridge . It should be between 24-48 hours, changing the water every 6 hours. To know if it is at its point, neither too salty nor too bland, just try it.
  2. Our cod is ready, we remove the bones with the help of some fish tongs , dry well and reserve.
  3. Prepare the Club Ranero fry : We put the chorizo ​​peppers in hot water for about 20 minutes so that they soften. After this time, we take out and remove the meat. We booked. (This step will not be necessary if you use choricero pepper meat directly).
  4. Peel the tomatoes, seed them and remove the cooking water. We cut them into squares. Dice the onion and peppers.
  5. We put a wide frying pan with two tablespoons of olive oil and cook over medium heat under the vegetables . Add the onion first, then the pepper and lastly the tomato, in order of hardness. Once the vegetables are poached, add the choricero pepper meat and mix well. We booked.
  6. Let's prepare the pil-pil. We flavor the oil: we put a low and wide casserole (in my case, the Le Creuset casserole-type cocotte ), with the oil that we are going to use and confit over medium-low heat , without boiling, the garlic and the chili pepper. They will be done when they surface. Remove the garlic and chilli and reserve. We already have our flavored oil.
  7. From here, we can cook the cod and prepare the pil-pil at the same time or cook the cod and then mix the pil-pil.
  8. If we blend the pil pil at the same time that we cook the cod, all we have to do is place the cod fillets with the skin facing up and add this oil little by little, moving the pan with rotary movements, so that the cod releases its gelatin and this is slowly coming together. The cod will release a kind of white pearls. These pearls are the gelatin that will emulsify with the oil and give it that mayonnaise-like texture.
  9. Very important, THE OIL SHOULD NOT BE VERY HOT, BUT RATHER ON THE WAY TEMPERATE, AND IT SHOULD NEVER BOIL. So that the oil does not boil in this process, we add the oil to the cocotte at the appropriate temperature and begin to mix it on the stove at a medium temperature, and when we see that the oil is heating up, we remove the cocotte from the heat and continue mixing . out of the fire .
  10. We repeat the operation of adding and blending oil until we have finished with all the oil and we get that mayonnaise-like yellow cream.

ranero club cod

Green Cosmos Plates by Tokyo Design Studio

  1. If we choose to cook the cod first and then mix the pil-pil: We put the well-dried cod fillets inside our low "Le Creuset" cocotte , with the skin facing up. Cover with the flavored oil and let the cod fillets confit without the oil boiling (about 80ºC). They will be cooked when when you press your finger on the skin, it can almost go through it.
  2. Note that the cod will continue cooking with the residual heat . We transfer the cod loins to a fountain, so that they release their water, oil and gelatin.
  3. Then we put our cocotte with the liquid that the cod confit has released and a little flavored oil and we bind the pil-pil, either with enveloping movements, or introducing the mesh of a strainer and moving it with rotary movements. Add little by little hot oil at medium temperature and continue mixing until you get that mayonnaise-like cream. Once ready, we reserve.
  4. We put the cod fillets in the cocotte and bathe the slices with the pil-pi l so that the sauce penetrates between the slices and it is very juicy. We leave a few minutes over medium-low heat so that the heart of the loins is tempered.
  5. To assemble the Club Ranero cod: Put a slice of cod on a hot plate, cover with the pil-pil and add a few tablespoons of the hot fry previously drained of oil. I prefer to serve like this and for the diner to mix the pil pil with the fritada.
  6. But it can also be previously mixed in a pan, part of the pil-pil with the frying, drained of oil, and serve with the already mixed mixture. As you like.

A good txakoli and good sourdough bread and enjoy this delicious unique Club Ranero cod dish !


- The cod loins always with the skin facing up, so that the cod does not shrink and does not become deformed.

- If when we are binding the pil-pil it is cut, we add a few drops of water.



Palmira said:

Una receta maravillosa con una cocotte baja super preciosa :o)
Besos y feliz semana,

Virginia said:

Beatriz, el aceite tiene que cubrir el bacalao, así que depende un poco de la anchura de tu cazuela, de la cantidad de bacalao, del grosor de las
tajadas. Pero calcula que aproximadamente será alrededor de 750 ml de aceite por kg de bacalao.

Beatriz García said:

¿Qué cantidad de aceite es recomendable para ligar el pil-pil? En la receta no ha quedado claro.
Muchas gracias

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