"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.
- 1 baccalà fillet (500gm), skin and bones removed (see note)
- 125 ml olive oil (½ cup)
- For dusting: plain flour
- 2 large onions, thinly sliced
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 4 anchovy fillets
- 1 tbsp capers in vinegar, rinsed
- 1 small red chilli, finely chopped
- 3 fresh bay leaves
- 1 tsp basil pesto
- 250 gm tomato paste
- 500 ml white wine
- ½ cup torn flat-leaf parsley, to serve
- To serve: crusty bread and salad
- 1Place 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.
- 2Preheat 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.
- 3Heat 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 Traveller.
Drink Suggestion: Friulano, the close cousin of sauvignon blanc Drink suggestion by Mark Protheroe