Baccalà alla vicentina

 

It is the pride of the city of Vicenza, near Venice, and it is also one of those rare recipes of which we know precisely the origin. The story of the salted codfish alla Vicentina starts from Røst, one of the Lofoten Islands, where, in 1431, came Pietro Querini, Venetian merchant escaped with a few members of his crew, a terrible shipwreck on his way to Flanders.

They were very well received by the locals, and they had the opportunity to discover the customs of that generous population of fishermen. As the strange method of the cod conservation: hung outside the houses, exposed to the cold north wind, and left to dry for months: it was the stockfiss. When Querini returned home, he brought with him, in the hold of the ship, a large quantitiy of cod. Although it is eaten throughout Italy, it is only in Vicenza and in its province that the cod has become a flag, a local glory so loved and celebrated that in Sandrigo, in 1987, was born even a Brotherhood of Baccalà alla Vicentina. It suggests a recipe which is the result of studies and comparisons between the recipes of the most famous restaurants of Vicenza in the 30s and 50s. Let’s take a look at how it’s prepared!

Ingredients (For 12 servings)

1 kg of dried cod

250/300 g of onions

1/2 liter of extra virgin olive oil

3 salted sardines

½ liter of fresh milk

50 g of grated Parmesan cheese

A parsley sprig

Flour

Salt and pepper

Preparation

Soaked stockfish, already well beaten, in cold water, changing every 4 hours, for 2-3 days. Raised part of the skin. Open the fish lengthwise, remove the bones and all the bones, then cut it into square pieces, possibly equal. Finely chop the onions and brown them in a pan with a glass of olive oil, then add the anchovies, boned and cut into small pieces; finally, with the heat off, add the chopped parsley. After floured various pieces of dried cod, sprinkle with the fried mixture and place them side by side, in a terracotta pot or aluminum, or in a baking dish (on the bottom of first pour a few tablespoons of fried). Then, cover the fish with the rest of the sauce, add the milk, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Add the oil, until it covers all the pieces, leveling them. Cook over very gentle heat for about 4 hours, moving every now and then the container in a circular motion, without stirring. In the end Vicenza, this cooking process is called "pipare". Only experience will determine the exact cooking of dried cod, from specimen to specimen, may differ in consistency. Serve piping hot with polenta slice, and remember that the cod Vicentina is great even after a 12-24 hour rest.