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!
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