Baccala is a fish delicacy traditionally found in Northern European, West African and Caribbean culture and cuisines. It's a white flesh fish, which in effect, is cod that has been preserved by salting and drying.
It can be cooked in many ways, casseroled with onions and potatoes in a tomato based sauce and served with polenta; grilled and served in salad, crumbed into croquettes or whipped into Baccala Mantecato.
Another of our family traditions involves eating Baccala on Good Friday and Christmas Eve.
My aunties in Trieste, Postojna and Rijeka will make Baccala Mantecato as an appetiser and serve it with Crostinis (grilled pieces of bread or polenta slabs). They will occasionally alternate and use Smoked Trout.
Recently, Iíve seen more and more Baccala dishes appearing on Sydney menus, which is a great thing for the Australian palate as it continuously expands to incorporate more left of field ingredients into its daily repertoire.
Baccala Mantecato served on Polenta Slabs.
Before cooking with Baccala, it needs to be desalinated and rehydrated. For simplicity and quickness, you can buy pre-soaked Baccala however, I prefer to buy it as it is and soak it myself as itís cheaper and I can tailor the saltiness and soaking process. For this recipe, I soaked the Baccala for 30-hours.
: 30-Hours (no preparation time is required if pre-soaked Baccala is purchased)
: 2 Cups
750g Baccala (Salted Cod)
1L Soy Milk
Handful of Black Peppercorns
1 Bay Leaf
200ml Light Olive Oil
1 Garlic Clove (Crushed)
Cook the Baccala in milk, water and peppercorns until tender.
Where to buy Baccala
Flake Baccala into a blender and slowly add olive oil, garlic and cream while whipping or slowly pulsing the Baccala mixture.
I was in Adelaide over Christmas and was able to buy the Baccala from Rosaís Gourmet Centre, an Italian Delicatessen. Its sister store Glynburn Gourmet
also sells an exquisite selection of marinated produce (which are made on-site) cheeses, breads, smallgoods and imported Italian groceries).
In Sydney, I would normally buy Baccala at the Sydney Fish Markets or at Signorelli Gastronomia in Pyrmont.
Baccala Mantecato served on Polenta Slabs
Copyright 2012,2013,2014 On Topic Media PTY LTD. ABN 18113479226.