I am constantly amazed at how animated and talkative people get when you mention food. The mere aroma of certain foods can evoke memories that transport us back to a special place and time. Food can bridge the gap between all ages, races and ethnicities.
Let's face it, the only thing that should ever come between people is a table and some serving bowls.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Cardboard Never Tasted So Good!

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!


Lucia from Madison said...

I am looking forward to Christmas Eve dinner. It is my favorite meal of the year. Merry Christmas and thanks for sharing your recipes! I really enjoy your blog!

Julie said...

Thank you so much Lucia, have a wonderful holiday.

~~louise~~ said...

My dad use to make the best Baccala` EVER!!!

I was in the fish store yesterday and there was a lady buying all kinds of fish. I couldn't help asking her if she was making them all for Christmas Eve and of course she said she was. I was buying one tiny piece of cod for dinner and walked out of the store with tears in my eyes. Oh what I wouldn't do for one more Christmas Eve dinner of my youth.

Thanks for sharing, Julie and a very Merry Christmas to you and yours...

Julie said...

I know, Louise those will always be some of the best food memories ever.