Recipe Baccalà alla vicentina, the Venetian recipe – Italian Cuisine


No one from Vicenza pronounces it with two Cs, the name of this cod which is actually stockfish. Ever since the noble Venetian merchant Pietro Querini was shipwrecked in Lofoten in 1431 with his carrack loaded with Malvasia and enhanced the preservation technique of the local cod, generations of good cooks worked hard to transform that dry fish back into an exquisite dish, and cod alla vicentina, accompanied by the indispensable polenta, is perhaps the most famous and successful example of this

  • 600 g stockfish soaked
  • 250 g white corn flour
  • 250 g yellow corn flour
  • 250 g onions
  • 250 g milk
  • 100 g 00 flour
  • 30 g grated Grana Padano Dop
  • 3-4 sardines in salt
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • garlic
  • parsley
  • salt
  • pepper

For the recipe of the Vicenza-style cod, remove the skin from the stockfish, open it in half and remove the bones and the central bone. Cut it into equal slices, 5-6 cm wide.
Slice finely the onions and gently brown them in a pan in a veil of oil.
Desalt the sardines, remove the bones and chop coarsely; add them to the wilted onion with 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley.
Flour the stockfish steaks.
Distribute half of the sauté in an earthenware or aluminum pan, place the stockfish slices on them and cover them with the rest of the onions.
You do brown for a few minutes, then add the milk, 200 g of oil and parmesan, salt and pepper. Cover and cook over low heat for 3-4 hours, moving the slices from time to time, gently, with a wooden spoon.
Prepare the yellow polenta: bring 1 liter of water to the boil in a saucepan, lower the heat to low, pour in the flour, stirring with a whisk. Add 1 tablespoon of oil and season with salt. Cook until it is very firm.
Take it off from the heat and spread it on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper, leveling it with the help of a well-wet spoon to 5 mm thick; let it cool down.
Cut polenta, now cold, in ovals or simple rectangles. Put them in the oven and cook in ventilated mode at 150 ° C for 30-40 minutes.
Prepare white polenta when there are 20 minutes left to cook the cod.
Pour flour in 1.5 liters of boiling salted water, mix with one
whisk and turn off after about 20 minutes, when it has a velvety consistency. If it forms lumps, dissolve them with the hand blender.
Pick up the cod steaks and finely blend half of the cooking juices.
Blanch 20 g of leaves of
parsley in salted water, then blend them with 1/2 glass of oil, 1 clove of garlic and fine salt. Blend until you get a creamy emulsion.
Pour the white polenta in a serving dish, lay the croutons of yellow polenta on top, a layer of onions, finally the slices of cod and complete with the blended onions.
Finish with the parsley emulsion and serve immediately.
To know: throughout the Veneto area we refer to stockfish (cod, Gadus morhua, dried) calling it cod, which in the rest of Italy is instead salted cod. The most valuable is the "spider" stockfish, named after the famous Norwegian exporter, Mr. Ragnar. For convenience, ask the fish shop to soak it for you 5-6 days before cooking.

Recipe and texts: Sara Tieni, Photos: Riccardo Lettieri, Styling: Beatrice Prada

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