1baccalà fillet (500gm), skin and bones removed (see note)125 ml (½ cup)olive oilFor dusting:plain flour2large onions, thinly sliced1garlic clove, finely chopped4anchovy fillets1 tbspcapers in vinegar, rinsed1small red chilli, finely chopped3fresh bay leaves1 tspbasil pesto250 gmtomato paste500 mlwhite wine½ cuptorn flat-leaf parsley, to serveTo serve:crusty bread and salad
Place baccalà in a large bowl and cover with cold water. Refrigerate to remove salt (2-3 days), changing the water three or four times. Drain, then cut into 50gm pieces and set aside.
Preheat oven to 180C. Heat half the oil in a flameproof roasting pan over high heat. Dust baccalà with flour and fry, turning once, until golden (2-3 minutes). Set aside in pan.
Heat remaining oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until translucent (7-10 minutes). Add anchovies, capers, chilli, bay leaves and pesto, stir to combine, then add tomato paste and stir until paste darkens (8-10 minutes). Add wine, reduce slightly (5 minutes) and pour over baccalà. Add enough water to cover completely (about 500ml), season to taste. Bake until reduced to a thick sauce (20-25 minutes), scatter with parsley and serve with crusty bread and salad.
Note Baccalà, or salt cod, is available from Italian
delicatessens and select fishmongers.
This recipe is from the March 2011 issue of Australian Gourmet
"My mother would often cook this flavour-packed dish at Easter
time. It should definitely have some saltiness to it and be quite
robust, but not unpleasantly so. You can't speed up the process of
soaking the fish, but it's worth the wait." You'll need to begin
this recipe 2-3 days ahead.