When my husband first told me about baccala, I was very skeptical. Baccala is Italian for salted cod and very popular in the Ligurian region, as well as Rome and Vicenza. Because the cod has been preserved in salt, it must be soaked in water for hours in preparation for cooking. First of all, I had never been a fan of western-style fish. My favorite recipes were either Chinese or Japanese. Secondly, I like fish to be fresh and well, baccala is the antithesis of fresh!
One bite of my father-in-law’s fried baccala changed my mind. I believe that was the first time I had baccala? And then we found an Italian deli that imported excellent salted cod from Canada. My husband started making many baccala dishes, including my favorite — baccala accomodou (or stew).
The ingredients are: baccala, green olives, potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, pine nuts, passata or tomato, extra virgin olive oil, white wine, salt and pepper.
My husband usually steams the baccala until it is done. In the meantime, he sautés the potatoes since that takes the longest to cook. Then he adds the carrots, mushrooms etc.. in order of cooking time. To make it more stew-like, he may stir in a bit of water and some wine. However, it doesn’t have to be too watery. Finally, he adds the baccala and the passata to add color and tomato flavoring. When the flavors all come together, it’s ready to serve.
I cannot tell you how much I love baccala…it overturned my notions of fresh fish and made me appreciate cod. I can’t wait to eat this again (when the weather is cooler) so I can rewrite down the recipe properly.*
* Please note my earlier disclaimer about recipes. This is a food blog written by the eater, not the chef!