Baccala is cod that has been preserved in salt. It has been a staple on Christmas tables in Italy since its introduction as a cheap and shelf-stable fish during leaner days. There are more baccala recipes in Italy than there are cod in the sea; this is Eva's Calabrian recipe, served with spicy peppers and potatoes!
Baccala, because it is heavily salted and dehydrated, must be soaked for 2-3 days prior to cooking. Places the desired pieces in a large bowl of water several days ahead, and change the water twice daily to dispose of the salt.
Watch the Pasta Grammar video where we make this recipe here:
For this recipe, you will need:
- Frying oil (we recommend olive or sunflower oil)
- An assortment of spicy peppers (see below)
- 1 large russet potato
- 2-3 large chunk servings of soaked baccala
- All-purpose flour for battering
Fill a large, deep pan with 2 inches of frying oil and bring up to medium/high temperature on the stovetop.
Meanwhile, clean the stems from the peppers and chop them into large chunks or slices. We used an assortment of jalapeño, fresno and poblano peppers but you can really use any kind and amount you prefer.
Peel the potato and cut into thick wedges. Place the wedges into a bowl of water.
When the oil is hot, carefully add the peppers. Stirring occasionally, fry until they are tender and beginning to brown—about 8-10 minutes. Remove them from the oil with a slotted spoon and spread them immediately on the bottom of a serving dish or plate. Sprinkle the peppers with a pinch of salt.
Next, drain the potato wedges and add them into the oil. Fry until golden and transfer them into the serving dish with a slotted spoon, spreading them over the peppers. Sprinkle the potatoes with salt.
Dust the baccala pieces in flour and carefully drop them into the frying oil. Turning them occasionally, fry the fish until they are golden. Remove them and nestle the baccala on top of the potatoes. Sprinkle the fish with salt.
Serve immediately. Buon appetito!