Baccala (Salted Cod Fish)
1 pound Baccala (salted cod fish fillets)
2 – 3 potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges
2 – 3 garlic cloves, minced
1 green pepper, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 cup flour
2 teaspoons oregano
1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup white wine
DAY BEFORE –
Place the fish in a deep pan or container. Rinse with
cold water and repeat. Cover fish with cold water to
soak and place in refrigerator overnight. Next morning,
drain, rinse and fill with water again, leave till ready to
prepare for dinner.
- Drain the fish on paper towels and pat dry. Cut into smaller pieces about 2 to 3 inches long.
- In a large size frying pan, add olive oil to cover bottom of pan and heat on a medium flame. Dredge the fish pieces in flour and saute in olive oil till brown on both sides. Remove from pan and set aside.
- In a medium pot, parboil the potato wedges in water until al dente. When still a little hard, but cooked, drain the potatoes and leave in pot till ready to use.
- Meanwhile, in the same pan that the fish was browned, add the garlic, pepper and onion and cook until tender.
- Add crushed tomatoes and oregano to the pan and continue to simmer. Add the wine, blend it in and then add the fish back to the pan. Cook covered for about 10 minutes. Add potato wedges to pan, cover and continue cooking for 15 to 20 minutes longer, or until potatoes are fork tender.
- Serve hot. Serves 4.
- ENJOY – You’ll keep coming back for more Baccala!
My memories are very vivid at times. Take for instant, the memory of my dad cooking. We had almost a galley kitchen setup, oblong and narrow, not big at all, but lots of delicious dinners were prepared there. The memory of him standing there at the stove cooking is very strong. My dad made us breakfast many a Saturday morning and helped my mom cook during the holidays. Mostly the women did the cooking, but my dad and my uncle also lent a hand in the kitchen at times. One thing I know for sure was my dad cooked fish more than my mom did.
The pan of water soaking the Baccala would be there for what seemed like a few days. In reality, it probably was sitting for three or four days the most. But I can remember it clear as anything. My mom would refresh the water a few times a day, to get rid of the salt. Wednesday and Fridays were no meat days, so they became fish or pasta dish dinner nights. Mom and I were not big fish eaters, so we had the pasta dishes and my dad and brother ate the fish dishes.
My husband loves all food, and is very easy to cook for. Since I am not big on fish, I rarely cook it, so he usually prepares it for himself. Recently with Christmas Eve coming up, I decided to make a fish dish for my husband to surprise him. My co-worker, Michael, and I are always reminiscing about our Italian family dishes growing up and what he was preparing for Christmas Eve. We started to talk about Baccala. That’s how it is with me and cooking. Once that bug gets in my head I have to figure out how to make something and I won’t rest until I do. Baccala was the dish I wanted to prepare for my husband, Tom. I called my brother, Jim, and asked about dad’s Baccala dish. Talking back and forth with Jim, each of us remembering different ingredients of the dish, in my head I came up with rough draft of this recipe.
I made the Baccala and Tom is sitting at the table waiting for me to serve it. To me it felt like that old commercial where some boys are sitting around a table staring at another boy with a dish in front of him, saying, ”Let Mikey try it”. That was me, staring at Tom with my Baccala dish. Guess what? He liked it, he really liked it! Tom said he loved the Baccala and the fish wasn’t too salty. That was good enough for me to write this recipe. Oh and the meatballs I made for me were pretty good to!
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!