Baccalà mantecato

Baccalà mantecato

Creamed cod

By
From
Modern Italian Food
Serves
6
Photographer
Earl Carter

Salting cod – when the fish is preserved in salt – is one of the most ancient methods of food preserving. Sadly, the Atlantic and North Sea cod that are so loved by the southern Mediterranean countries have been depleted by centuries of over-fishing. These days cod is virtually a protected species and what is sold as salt cod in many Italian delis is in fact ling, which is another fish altogether.

Some might argue that salt preserving is a time-consuming method of food preserving, that modern advances in refrigeration and freezing have made the practice obsolete. The thing is, salt-preserved cod is truly one of the great flavours of the world, which should be retained at all costs; its unique texture cannot be matched.

To prepare, place salted cod in a bowl of water to soak. Change the water a few times until the salt is removed.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
500g salted cod, soaked
1 litre milk
2 litres water
5 peppercorns
1 bay leaf
100ml light olive oil
1 garlic clove, finely chopped

Method

  1. Place the cod in a large pan with the milk, water, peppercorns and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. The cod should be fairly soft to the touch. Turn off the heat and leave the fish to cool in the liquid. Strain through a sieve, discarding the liquid.
  2. Remove and discard any bones (keep the skin), flake the fish and place in an electric mixer with the skin. Using a paddle beater attachment, slowly beat the fish while gradually adding the olive oil and garlic.
  3. The paddle beats the oil into the fish rather than breaking it down to a gluey paste as a food processor would do.
  4. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  5. Serve on grilled or toasted rustic bread as an appetiser.
Tags:
Stefano
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Pieri
Stefanos
Stefano's
Mildura
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