This week’s Regional Italian recipe takes us to Veneto in North-Eastern Italy. Veneto is among the wealthiest, most developed and industrialised regions of Italy and it is also one of the most visited by tourists, its capital being Venice. It is also the region of other famous places like the beautiful Alpine town of Cortina d’Ampezzo in the Dolomites, Romeo and Juliet’s Verona and Palladio’s Vicenza. Today’s dish comes from Vicenza and it is famous all over Italy. It is called Baccalà alla Vicentina (stockfish Vicenza style) and even though the word baccalà in Italy means salted cod, the original recipe calls for stockfish. They are the same fish (cod), but while salted cod is kept under salt, stockfish is dried. I have made this recipe with stockfish and baccalà and either way is fine. The only difference is that salted cod has to be soaked in water for 24 hours, while stockfish requires 2 to 3 days of soaking prior to being cooked. Stockfish was introduced in the city back in 1432 when a ship from Venice wrecked in the Norwegian Lofoten islands, where stockfish was very common and the crew brought some of this dried fish back to Vicenza. This dish is traditionally served with soft polenta. Enjoy and don’t forget to check out all my other posts on Regional Italian recipes!
Recipe adapted from Confraternita del bacalà alla vicentina
Ingredients (for 6 people):
500 gms – 1 lb. stockfish or salted cod (baccalà)
150 gms – 5 oz. onion, diced
180 ml – 6 oz. extra virgin olive oil
1 or 2 anchovies
250 ml – 1 cup milk
Flour to coat
30 gms – 2 tbsp Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano finely grated
1 tbsp parsley, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
NOTE: the original recipe calls for more extra virgin olive oil (250 ml – 1 cup), but in my opinion 180 ml – 6 oz. is enough.
If you are using stockfish, you will need to soak it in water for 2 to 3 days prior to cooking it. Remember to change the water frequently. If you are using salted cod (like I did), you need to soak it for 24 hours (always changing the water frequently to get rid of the salt).
Clean the fish by removing the skin and bones (when present) and cut it in similar sized pieces.
Dice the onion and put it in a pan with 2 tbsp of the extra virgin olive oil. Sauté them until translucent. Add the anchovies and mix well to melt them. Put the fire off and add the parsley. Mix well and keep aside.
Coat the pieces of fish with a little flour.
Put half of the onion mixture at the bottom of a heavy bottomed pot (better if you have a terracotta pot) and put the floured pieces of fish on the top in a single layer (1). Pour the other half of the onion mixture on the top of the fish (2). Add the milk (3), the grated cheese, salt and pepper (4) and all the remaining extra virgin olive oil, making sure the fish is completely covered in liquid (5). Cook on a very low flame without mixing for up to 4 hours or until the fish is very soft (6).
Serve warm with soft polenta.
My parents will arrive tomorrow and will be staying here for about a month! I will still blog normally, but I am asking all my fellow bloggers to bear with me if I slow down a bit on the blog hopping. I will try and keep up, but this is the only time of the year that I get to see my parents (and I am an only child! ;-)), so I really want to make the best of it! I know you’ll forgive me!!! THANKS!!! <3
Hester @ Alchemy in the Kitchen says
Lovely way to serve salt cod, Manu, and I enjoyed hearing about the origins.
Enjoy every moment of your parents’ visit!
One of the tastiest ways to enjoy dried cod. I haven’t had the original stockfish version but as you say it’s perfectly delicious made with baccalà as well.
Love your Regional Italian Series! Pictures are mouthwatering…Enjoy your time with your parents!
[email protected] says
Salt cod is something my friend has been after me to try, so your recipe is definitely timely. Your method of preparation does intrigue, well worth trying.
Enjoy your special time with the family!
Enjoy the time with your parents, Manu!!!!
I have never eaten baccala as it’s not so common around here…but as a seafood lover, I know I’d love your fabulous dish. Maybe another trip to Venice is in order…so I can sample an authentic version 🙂
that looks awesome. i am going to try.
Kiri W. says
Oh my, that looks incredibly tasty! I love how creamy and flavorful this looks – I can just imagine the scent. Wonderful recipe, definitely on my must-try list!
I never had baccala’. Yours looks very good! I have to try cooking it at some point!
Eva kitcheninspirations.wordpress.com says
This looks like comfort food – really delicious Manu. Hope you have a wonderful visit with your parents; of course there is nothing to forgive. Famiy first. Happy holidays.
Joan Nova says
This is a new and different preparation of baccala to me — and one that totally intrigues. I have a sense that a touch of something sweet (like a few raisins) might be interesting in the onion mix to balance all the salt. What do you think?
Purabi Naha says
I never knew that even Italians eat salted fish (just like Chinese in Hong Kong! This salted cod preparation is undubtedly very different and sounds so flavourful!! Manu, I am looking forward to all your regional Italian recipes now.
Katherine Martinelli says
This looks so good! And that is interesting about the stockfish vs. cod. Great photos, they came out stunning.
I’ve tasted a very similar dish in Italy and you’ve did a marvelous job with it. It looks very good 🙂
Tina (PinayInTexas) says
I love cod, and this dish sounds perfect for it. I’ll definitely be trying this!
Wishing you a wonderful time with your parents, Manu! Enjoy every minute of it! :-*
Elyse @The Cultural Dish says
Loving the regional series – this looks so delicious!
Nuts about food says
I love baccalà alla vicentina but then again I grew up in Venice and went to school in Cortina for years… your rendition looks mouthwatering.
Thank you for this interesting recipe! I am from north of Norway, and we normaly eat stockfish a lot. Dry directly from the rack, in bacalao (the tomato variant) or baked in the oven. I love fish, and will absolutely try this one. I guess my familiy will love it too.
Thanks again! 🙂
Carrie's Experimental Kitchen says
Good morning, I featured this recipe on my blog today for my weekly seafood round-up. I also FB, Tweet and Pin. Thank you for allowing me to share! Here is the link:http://carriesexperimentalkitchen.blogspot.com/2012/09/seafood-frenzy-friday-week-35.html
Luigi Chiarello says
My all time favorite meal is polenta e baccala. This is the closest rendition of my mother’s recipe that I have seen.
What a wonderful surprise to stumble onto your site with this delight.
My parents are from the Veneto region and my mother has mastered this dish. Since her passing two years ago my family has missed out on this meal that we traditionally had every Christmas and Good Friday. Your directions and pictures appear to be using the salted baccala. Can you please send my the instructions to prepare this meal with the stockfish. I need to make this perfect in remembrance of my mother.
Hi Luigi! I am so happy to have brought back good memories and I hope you can make this dish for your family! I use baccala as it is much faster, but if you have stock fish, that too is perfect for this recipe (it is actually how it was originally made!). The only difference is the method of rehydration. You have to “tenderise” it by beating it with a rolling pin (but don’t break it!). Then you need to put it in cold water for 3 to 5 days (depending on its size). Remember to change the water every 6 to 12 hours and to keep it in the fridge. By the time you are done with it, it should be 4 to 5 times its original size! You can remove the bones either before or after the rehydration process. Then you can proceed with the recipe the way it is. Hope it helps! Let me know how it comes out!
Thanks for this recipe! I made this tonight (in the crockpot!) and it was well-received by husband and suocera!