desarme, a traditional October stew
Picture recipe for desarme, a traditional Asturian stew

Maybe because of this time of the year, or perhaps because I can eat it anytime–fish is on my mind. Salted cod to be more specific, which brings me to this recipe.

Salted Cod with Garbanzo Beans and Spinach, known in Asturias and probably all of Spain as “Desarme,” is one of the most typical salted cod recipes of the Asturian region, and a dish that brings me back with every bite. Every year in October, Asturias celebrates war triumphs of the past with this dish. Desarme itself is a culinary triumph. It’s called “desarme” because it supposedly was so good that it “disarmed” opposing forces: they laid down their guns to enjoy a bowl of this soup. This dish reminds me of how good something so simple can be, anytime of the year. Enjoy!


  • 1 pound dry garbanzo beans
  • 1 pound salted cod
  • 1 pound frozen spinach
  • 1 onion small diced
  • 1 slice of bread (preferably from a few days old baguette)
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 Tbsp. Spanish smoked paprika (pimenton)
  • 1/2 cup of parsley
  • olive oil

Soak the garbanzo beans in plenty of cold water over night. Follow the salted cod directions for soaking and preparation. Some salted cod might require an overnight process.

Drain and rinse the garbanzo beans. You could use canned garbanzo beans, but I wouldn’t recommend it for this recipe. They don’t make as good of a stock for your soup.

Cover the garbanzo beans with warm water. The garbanzo beans should be below the surface of the water by at least two fingers of water–about an inch and a half.

Pour a tablespoon of olive oil onto the water, add the bay leaves and bring to a boil. Cook your eggs until they are hard boiled. Cool and set aside.

In a sauté pan add two tablespoons of olive oil. Fry the bread on both sides, remove from pan and put in a food processor. Lightly toast the garlic cloves making sure they won’t burn, and add to the bread. Add the parsley.

At this point the garbanzo beans are probably boiling. Reduce to medium heat and skim off the white foam from the surface of the water.

Add a little extra oil to the same pan where you cooked the bread and garlic, and sauté the onion. Add the pimenton to the onion and mix in for a few minutes. Pour the sauteed onion mixture in the garbanzo pot.

Remove the egg yolks from the eggs and add to the food processor. Add a half of a cup of the garbanzo stock to the food processor and blend until you have a creamy paste.

Once the garbanzo beans are tender, tear the cod into small pieces with your fingers and incorporate into the soup.

Stir in the bread and egg yolk paste into the soup and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and add spinach. Allow it to cook for at least ten more minutes for all flavors to come together.

2 Replies to “desarme”

  1. Chef Daniel – This looks like a great recipe! I make a tuscan white bean using Kielbasa and arugula, but love the idea of the salted cod. Great pics and great instructions! One question…Assuming that traditionally no other stock is used, would the addition of a lower sodium fish-type stock add to this dish, or would that be unnecessary?


    1. Joe,
      I’m glad you find this recipe interesting. It’s very dear to me. The salted cod will bring a lot of flavor/sodium into the stock even after a good long rinse. But, when all ingredients are in and you feel it needs a little more flavor/depth, by all means you can add a little seafood/fish stock. Let me know how it turns out!

      Buen provecho,



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

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

%d bloggers like this: