by Felicia Mohan
Baccala, or salted codfish, is a favorite dish of the Italians and Portuguese. This is one of the many ways to bake cod.
5 pounds Salt Cod Fish
2 ½ pounds potatoes, peeled & cut into 1/4's
2 large leeks, cleaned well, chopped into 1/2 inch size pieces, white part only
½ pound large mushrooms cut into ¼’s
½ head celery with leaves cleaned & chopped into ½ inch pieces
½ cup salted capers rinsed and drained
½ pound large pitted green olives
2 ½ pounds onions chopped finely
3 cans San Marzano Tomatoes, pureed & 1 ½ cans of water
Fresh ground pepper
1. Soak salt Cod in very large pan, changing water every hour, for 24 hours, drain all water, set fish aside.
2. Place prepared mushrooms in a large frying pan with water, cook on high heat, until water turns brown. Drain water, set mushrooms aside.
3. Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan, add onions and leeks, sauté until transparent.
4. Add celery to pan with onions and leeks, continuing to cook for 2 minutes.
5. Add potatoes to pan and toss with celery, leeks and onions, coating potatoes with oil. Cook 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and water.
6. Add 1 ½ teaspoon ground pepper and bring sauce to a boil. Lower heat to medium and cover pot, cooking for 5 minutes. Be careful not to overcook the potatoes. They should be slightly hard when you test them by inserting a fork.
7. Add prepared capers, mushrooms and olives and continue cooking on medium /high heat. Bring sauce to 2nd boil and remove from heat immediately. Note: The sauce can be made to this point and kept in refrigerator until ready to serve. My Grandmother Felicia would always let her sauce marinate in the” Spezza Room” overnight at this point!
When ready to serve:
8. Using a ladle, cover the bottom of Dutch oven pan with sauce and place one layer of prepared Cod Fish over sauce. Continue layering sauce and Cod Fish, ending with sauce
9. Cover Dutch oven pan and place in a pre-heated 400 degree F. oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until it begins to boil.
10. When the boiling point is reached, reduce heat to 375 degrees and continue to cook for 1 more hour. Note: Complete “oven” cook time should be 2 hours in total
11. Remove pan from oven and let Baccala rest on counter for 1 hour.
Serve with fresh Italian Bread and enjoy!
Recipe courtesy of Felicia (Ciaramitaro) Mohan, 2011.