Baked Baccala’

 

(“ Baccala’ al Forno” -“Baccala’ C’Alivi e Pumaroru”)

 

 

At the Focacceria Palermitana Friday was fish day. We cooked calamari in sauce, fried and stuffed, polpo, sea food salad, cod fish, other fresh fish available in the market which we prepared baked, sauté, roasted, in brodetto, a beccafico  or incipuddati, in onions’ sauce, or sweet and sour. We alternated the types of fish, the sauce and the cooking ways to present our customers a selection that seemed new and different every week.
One specialty was made every Friday in the same way, with the same ingredients, using the same cooking technique: the baccala’ al forno or baked dry cod fish.
It is a very aromatic dish, well liked for the taste and combination of components at all times present in Sicilian cooking. 
In fact the condiments of this dish are capers, pine nuts, seedless currants or raisins, green and black olives, marjoram or oregano, basil and bay leaves and pic-pac tomato sauce.
Potatoes baked with the baccala’ makes a nice contorno, side dish.
Let us go to the recipe!

 

 

Serves 6

 

 

                       Ingredients:

 

  • 1 portion of Pic-pac Sauce (see recipe)
  • 1 ½ lb. of white potatoes
  • 2 lb. baccala’, dried salted cod fish
  • 1 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of seedless currants or raisins
  • 1 tablespoons of pine nuts
  • 1 tablespoon of seedless currants or raisins
  • 1 ½ tablespoons of pine nuts
  • 1 tablespoon capers rinsed
  • ¼ cup of basil finely chopped
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • ½ tablespoon breadcrumbs
  • ½ teaspoon of marjoram or oregano
  • ¼ cup of black olives, pitted and cut in half
  • ¼ cup of green olives, pitted and cut in half
  • Dry hot red peppers flakes, served on the side
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  •  ½ cup of white wine

 

 

Preparation
Place the baccala’ in a 6 quart sauce pot with about 4 quarts of cold water. Soak for 3 nights, changing the water every 12 hours.

 

The Potatoes
Rinse the potato under running water to remove any sand and place in a large pot. Cover with water add ½ tablespoon of salt and bring to a boil.
Keeping pot at a medium heat, cook the potatoes for 15 minutes. They should be firm because they will bake with baccala’.
Scoop out the boiled potatoes with a slatted spoon and when they are cooled, peel and slice 1 inch thick.

 

The Baccala’
In a sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons of oil, the chopped onions and place over a medium heat until light golden. Set on the side. 
Drain the baccala’ and cut it into chunks about 2 X 3 inches, which will be easy to do once it has been soaked.
Grease a baking pan with the 2 tablespoons of oil, spread the sliced potatoes in one layer and sprinkle over salt, pepper. Place the baccala’ over the potatoes. Test a small flake of baccala’ for saltiness and if needed add salt and pepper to taste.
Sprinkle over the fish fillets the chopped garlic, the bay leaves and the sautéed onion; spoon on top sparingly ¾ of a cup of tomato sauce and spread evenly on top the basil, currants, pine nuts, capers, marjoram or oregano and the black and green olives following a decorative pattern. 
Pour the wine over it, cover with aluminum foil and bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, than remove foil and bake for additional 15 minutes or until done.
 Don’t overcook it because it becomes stoppagghiuso  (meaning like a rope made with stubbles), hard and dry.

 

The Serving 
Serve hot or warm with the boiled potato on the side. Place crushed red pepper on the table and plenty of fresh bread.

 

Note:

The pic-pac sauce left over can be utilized as a condiment to one pound of bucatini or your preferred cut of pasta.