Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Baccala Salad

It bugs the shit out of me when people walk ding toed, when they walk and point their toes inward. There is a woman at my office that walks this way and I don't know why but I want to smack her in the back of the head and tell her to point her feet forward. I think the anger from that is some deep seeded feeling instilled in my by my Nana, she always had something to say about people who walked that way…she had a lot to say about a lot of people, I think it may be generational, she still to this day will have something to say about everyone who walks by the house, or she sees in the grocery store or whatnot.. very sad.

Onto happier thoughts, Rome. When I visited Rome a few years ago I was just taken with Baccala, I had never had it before I visited, I had it my second day there, and just could not get enough. There are some days that I literally wish I could jump on a plane and head to Rome if for nothing more than a big piece of filetti di' baccala. So, I bought a package of salt cod over the summer, threw it in the freezer and there is lay for months and months and months, because I was too intimidated to make it. It wasn't until December that I went to an Italian restaurant and the appetizer special was Baccala Salad. It was so completely different than the baccala I experienced in Rome – not hot and fried, but cold and covered with a spicy pepper salad. I loved this version too. As serendipity works, a few days later my mother-in-law came across a recipe for baccala salad printed in the Providence Journal, she mailed it to me, the impetus for me to get over my fear of the salt cod. I'm so glad I did – it was delicious. But, I will never make it again, I will seek it out at restaurants, I will go back to Rome, but I will not stink up my kitchen with the stench of boiling salt cod again, unless it's springtime and I can open all the windows in the house. 

Baccala Salad 

2-3 pounds salted cod fish
2 lemons
1 sprig fresh thyme
2 ribs of celery, sliced
2-ounce can roasted red peppers, sliced
1 cup banana peppers, roughly chopped
1 sprig parsley, chopped
1 ounce lemon juice
2 ounces extra virgin olive oil
1 dash freshly grated nutmeg

Trim the salted cod, removing as much skin and belly as possible. Soak the salted cod in ice-cold water for three days, changing the water each day.

In a stock pot, place the well rinsed cod in with the fresh sprig of thyme and nutmeg. Bring to a slow rolling boil on medium high heat for two hours. Strain the baccala and rinse in cold water.
Separate the fish into medium-size flakes. In a large mixing bowl, add remaining ingredients and mix well, being careful not to break fish up too much.

Let stand in refrigerator for at least 3-4 hours before serving. Mix well before serving.
Note: Baccala is served best over field greens with crisp Italian bread, or it can be heated up and served over creamy polenta. Serves 6-8 people.

From Chef Giovanni Ricci at Wildfire

Rating = Damn Good


Brenna said...

Oh man, I can't get on board with this one. My Tsitsi used to bring baccala to our house when I was little, and you know what you don't want to do as a kid? You don't want to think she's saying BAKLAVA and cram a big hunk into your mouth.

AM said...

Well, another mystery solved. I've always wondered what one did with salt cod.

JB said...

I love that story - here's a sweet sticky nutty dessert, oh I mean a cold piece of fish.