Baccalà is salted cod and has been widely used across the Mediterranean for centuries. In Italy, Pellegrino Artusi wrote in “The Science of Cooking and Art of Eating Well”, they favored baccalà for their Friday night meal up until around the time of the Second Vatican Council because it was cheap and didn’t spoil. It also provided landlocked regions like Tuscany an easy and affordable way to taste the sea at home.
Affordable and versatile, baccalà can be used in anything from soups and stews or featured in a main dish. In addition to serving the fish fried, Tuscans often serve baccalà alla Livornese where the fish is pan-seared and served in a tomato sauce. It can also be creamed as a mousse and used as a creative filling.
In this recipe you will find an earthy chickpea and rosemary puree to balance the saltiness in the fish. The ingredients – aside from the baccalà – are all probably already sitting in your pantry, making this dish a no-brainer weeknight meal to savor.
A light white or sparking wine would pairs well here. The acidity cuts through the fat in the fish to leave you with a nice, clean finish.
Try: Campogrande Orvieto Classico D.O.C.
— 600g baccalà (pre soaked)
—350ml iced water
— 10g cornflour
— 200g flour
— 15g baking powder
— 400g dried chickpeas
— 1 pinch of baking soda
— Extra virgin olive oil
— 1 clove of garlic
— 1 sprig of rosemary
— Black pepper
— Sunflower oil for frying
- Soak the chickpeas for 24 hours in warm water with a pinch of baking soda. After this time, rinse the chickpeas and put them into a large pot with cold water and a pinch of salt over low heat. surface with a slotted spoon. Let them cool down in their cooking water.
- Take your Baccala dry with paper towel to remove any excess moisture, it is important to have a dry product before frying to obtain a golden crunch. (If you cant find pre soaked baccala, you can buy it under salt, in that case it is important to soak you fish in water for 48hrs changing the water 3-4 times). Cut your baccalà into 4 nice pieces and leave in the fridge.
- To make the batter, whisk the egg yolks and iced water together, add the cornflour, baking powder and flour, stir together until there are no lumps and you have a smooth silky mixture.
- Drain the chickpeas and blend them in a liquidizer with 1/2 of a ladleful of their cooking water. Heat 1 clove of garlic and a sprig of rosemary in a saucepan with a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil: when the garlic begins to color and the rosemary to release it essential oils, before it starts to brown, pour in the chickpeas purée, stir and let it simmer a few minutes.
- In a tall-sided pot or deep fryer, heat the olive oil to 180°C. Dip each fillet of baccala in the batter, allowing the excess to drip off, coating your fish well. When the oil is at temperature, gently drop the fillets in the oil and cook until golden brown and crisp.
- Serve your golden baccala on top of you chickpea and rosemary puree and garnish with rosemary, extra virgin olive oil and black pepper.