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Baccala con le Patate e Olive (Salt Cod with Potatoes & Olives)

As promised, here is the second baccala` (salt cod) dish for the Lent season.  In my previous post I shared with you a family recipe called Baccala con Peperoni Cruschi, a traditional recipe from the Basilicata region of Italy predominantly eaten during Lent or as some call it the leaner days leading up to Easter.  This additional salt cod recipe I share with you is a classic for this period of time as well and a family favourite due to the added potatoes and tomato sauce rendering the fish moist.   When mamma makes this dish she doesn't normally add the black sun dried olives, but I decided to include them not only to intensify the flavours of the baccala`, but also a great way to finish the meal with bread and olives.

Baccala con le Patate e Olive (Salt Cod with Potatoes & Olives)
Serves 4


700 g of salt cod already soaked in water for 3 days to remove the excess salt
150 g of cherry tomatoes
1 small brown onion
1 celery stalk
350 g (3 medium) desiree` or red skin potatoes 
salt to taste
1 cup black sun dried olives (prepared in advance by mamma) You can purchase these from your local delicatessen
½ cup white wine
½ cup water
4 tblsp olive oil

Preparing the salt cod fish:

In order for the salt cod to be totally desalinised, it requires to be soaked in a bowl of cold water for 2 to 3 days – changing the water every day.   Drain the water and pat dry the cod using a clean tea-towel and carefully remove the skin by peeling it off.  Cut into pieces of desired length.

Cooking the cod fish with potatoes & olives in a tomato based sauce:

Cut cherry tomatoes into quarters and place in a bowl. Chop onion and celery stick finely, and place in a saucepan or deep fry pan with 4 tblsp of olive oil. Sweat the onion on low heat until translucent and then add the tomatoes and season to taste.  Allow the tomatoes to cook down and add 1/2 cup of white wine and place lid on saucepan to simmer. Meanwhile peel potatoes and cut into 1cm thick rounds. Once the tomatoes have started to break down, add the potatoes and cod fish and stir through the sauce.  If the sauce has dried out too much, add 1/2 cup of water and stir through.  Place the lid on saucepan and allow to simmer on low heat until the potatoes have cooked through.  The cod fish will be cooked once the potatoes are tender. Add the olives and cook for a further 5 minutes with lid on to heat through and give flavour to the dish.

This dish is served as a main with crusty bread and garnished with chopped parsley. Enjoy!


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