Baccalà alla Livornese
By Pierre Ley pierreley
Salted cod was an important item in Italian pantries in the past centuries. It probably represented the only way many Italians could have fish on their tables. It kept well, and it was affordable. This recipe is typical from the city of Livorno, in Tuscany. It only has a few ingredients, so you will want to source the best of every single element of this dish. I normally cook it in my favorite stoneware stew pot, but use whatever you are comfortable with, provided it makes a good stew. (be aware you will need to soak the salted cod for 3 days before using)
tomatoes, canned whole
italian parsley, chopped
flour, to dust cod
salt and pepper, to taste
olive oil, extra virgin
1Cod should be soaked for 3 days in cold water (keep in the fridge and change water twice a day)prior to using. When making the stew, start by removing the skin, and the bones, from your cod. Cut into large chunks and dust with flour.
2Heat oil in your favorite stewing pot, add garlic clove split in two. When it starts sizzling, add the pieces of cod. Add the rosemary sprigs. Season with pepper (don't add salt at this point as the cod is very salty). Lightly brown fish on both sides. Remove cod and reserve.
3Add the tomatoes, and make sure you scrape off all the bits of fish that stuck to the bottom of the pot and they blend in with the tomatoes. Crush tomatoes with a wooden spoon to obtain a nice sauce, cover and and leave to simmer for 5 min.
4Add the cod, cover and allow to cook for another 5 mins. The cod will "soak up" all the flavor from the sauce! Check sauce for salt (it probably won't be necessary to add any)before serving, and garnish with the chopped parsley. Watch a video of how I prepare this dish by clicking on the "video" icon underneath the picture on this page.