BACCALA con PATATE
(An Italian version of the French Brandade de Morue)
Note: Probably the only thing which distinguishes this recipe as an Italian dish is that an Italian cook made it. It is our feeling that Baccala is a food of the Mediterranean region, and as such is as much Italian as it is French, or Portuguese or Spanish or Greek..
1 1/2 Lbs. Salt cod - Baccala [Obtained in an Italian market or in a fine supermarket fish dept.] 6 Med. Potatoes - white 1 Cup Milk - either whole or 2 % 1 Cup Olive oil 3 Cloves Garlic - chopped coarsely 1 Tsp. Pepper - Black Q.B. Salt - the cod is salty, very little additional salt is usually necessary
Preparation of the Baccala
Soak the Baccala for 3 days prior to use, changing the water two or three times each day. At the end of this time, cook the fish in gently boiling water for 4-5 minutes. The Baccala should be tender and flaky when cooled. Break it into pieces, being careful to remove any bones.
Put the Baccala, half the milk and the garlic in a blender or food processor. Process the mixture for 15-20 seconds, then add 1/2 cup of olive oil and half the pepper. Process for an additional 20 seconds. Add salt to taste, then put the mixture aside while preparing the potatoes.
Preparing the Potatoes
Cook the potatoes whole in plenty of water. Cook until very firm, not well done. Allow to cool and then peel.
Chop the potatoes into 1/2 inch pieces, and put them in a 2 quart sauce pan. Add the remainder of the milk and olive oil. Heat over medium heat while mashing the potatoes with a hand or electric mixer. Continue this process until the potatoes are smooth and silky.
Preparation of the Baked Baccala
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Add the Baccala mixture to the potatoes, and blend until all ingredients are well mixed. Oil a baking dish, and put the mixture of potatoes and Baccala into the baking dish. The size of the dish should be such that it is filled to about 1/2 inch from the top. Drizzle olive oil over the top, and place in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the top has is baked brown and crusty.
Serve either as a main course or as an appetizer. A sprinkle of extra virgin olive oil to top each plate is delicious. either way a good crusty bread is best served with it.
Last updated on:12/12/04 09:01:48 PM