Baccala: Cod fish, Venetian style
Serve on bread or polenta
The “Fishy Baccala” that Rosemary Clooney sings about has quite a rich history. It’s beginnings in Italian cuisine goes back to the adventures of a 15th century Venetian captain, Pietro Querini, whose famous shipwreck off the coast of the far-away Lofoten islands of Norway brought codfish to the Northern Italians. The Venetians created a dish with this new discovery and called it baccala.
For the Venitians, baccala is made with cured cod fish (meaning, it was salted for preservation).
I used fresh codfish in my baccala, as it easier to find than the cured codfish.
Ingredients: ½ lb. fresh codfish
Spices: I like it with salt, pepper, and hint of ground cloves. (The original recipe is also with garlic. I like it delicate.)
Toppings: Capers, olives or whatever looks and tastes good with it. (For ideas, look at the pictures I took.)
I served it on bread slices, but it is also very good also on fried polenta (cornbread) or also on fresh pasta like fettuccine.
Fill a pot with cold water and toss in the fish. Turn the heat on and wait for the water to start boiling. Once you reach a boil, turn the heat off and let it sit uncovered for half an hour.
Remove the fish from the pot and chop it very finely. Put some oil in a pan, turn the heat on low, and start adding the fish pieces and the spices. Constantly stirring, continue to add oil until the fish starts to resemble a lumpy cream.
When it looks like a sort of mousse it is ready.
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