Baccala` is Italian for salt cod which is usually one of the traditional fishes used during the Feast of the seven fishes. Baccala` actually looks and feels like cardboard in its dried state. It is interesting the difference in flavor going from fresh cod which is very mild to the salted preserved cod which when soaked and reconstituted has a much more intense flavor. Due to Baccala's more intense flavor it can stand up well to much bolder flavors such as; olives, capers, lemons and tomatoes more so than its milder counterparts without losing its own unique qualities. Baccala` tends to be an acquired taste, it is not for everyone but for those of us that do enjoy it, it truly makes for a much anticipated holiday treat!Baccala` With Tomatoes and Olives
2 to 3 lbs. Baccala` (fish), totally submerge in fresh cold water for 3 days, changing water morning and night
1/4 c. oil
2 cans whole tomatoes, chopped or you can use stewed tomatoes
6 med. onions, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
2 tsp. oregano
2 tsp. parsley
2 tsp. sweet basil
1 can pitted black olives, small or cut the large ones in half
1 small jar of pimento stuffed green olives
1 tablespoon of capers
Cut up Baccala` into good size chunks or strips
Juice of half a lemon; sprinkle on at the end of cooking to brighten the flavors.FYI
- Salt has been omitted intentionally due to the saltiness of the Baccala` even after soaking. Taste at the end of cooking and only add salt if necessary.
Lightly sauté the onions, garlic, and celery in oil then add the tomatoes and herbs to mixture. Let simmer for 20 minutes. Add Baccala` and cook another 20 minutes, then add olives and capers sprinkle with lemon juice serve and enjoy!