Thursday, April 4, 2013

Carmela Soprano's Baccala Pizzaiola - Salt Cod Pizzamaker's Style

Tomorrow is Friday.
Lent is over.
And there's still turkey to finish off.

Junior's recipe for Baccala Pizzaiola - Salt Cod Pizzamaker's Style - in his chapter 
The Soprano Family Tradition in Artie's The Sopranos Family Cookbook
is another of the 'I'll never make that' recipes.

The recipe itself isn't hard.
But, salt cod is pretty much a distant memory.
Junior would have remembered salt cod.
You do have to be of a certain age to have eaten it regularly.


I explained salt cod when I posted Carmela's recipe Baccala Fritta, Fried Salt Cod.


Salt cod needs a bit of prep work: 
A couple of days before you want to cook it, place the baccala, cut into serving pieces, in a large bowl of cold water and refrigerate, changing the water at least 3 times a day for 2 days or more - until the water no longer tastes salty.  
Then you drain the baccala and dry it with paper towels.  
You can leave the baccala in the refrigerator for a day or two after it's desalted.

If you're using stockfish, soak the fish in the same manner for 5 to 7 days, 
until it is pliable.
Or... you can use fresh or frozen cod fillets, thawed.
I do.

If you have fresh tomatoes, substitute 
3 Cups peeled, seeded and chopped for the canned.

Don't have fresh basil leaves?
A tablespoon, more or less, will do just as well for the sauce.

About the Pizzamaker's Style...
Don't confuse the kids.
I explained what to do on Carmela's Bistecca Pizzaiolasteak Pizzamaker's style.
It works with fish, too.


                        Baccala Pizzaiola

Serves 8

In a deep skillet place
2 inches of water
Add 
2 pounds baccala or 1 1/2 pounds stockfish pretreated 
          (or 2 pounds cod fillets)
Simmer until it is tender, but not cooked through.
With a slotted spoon, remove the fish.
Let cool, then remove any bones and skin.

In a medium saucepan place
1/4 Cup olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, very finely chopped
Cook over medium heat until lightly golden.
Add
1 28 to 35-ounce can Italian tomatoes, chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.
Stir in 
6 fresh basil leaves, torn into bits

Preheat oven to 400º

Get a baking dish that is large enough to hold the fish in a single layer.
Spoon a thin layer of sauce into the dish.
Arrange the fish on top.
Spoon the remaining sauce on top.
Drizzle over the sauce
2 Tablespoons olive oil

Bake 30 minutes and serve hot.


Would I make Baccala Pizzaiola again?
Sure.
With cod fillets.
This is the twenty-first century, for crying out loud.


One recipe down.  Twenty-six more to go.

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