BACCALA with POTATOES
(A Christmas Specialty)
1 lb Baccala (Salt Cod)
1 Onion – Quartered
2 Garlic Cloves – Sliced
3/4 lb Yukon Gold Potatoes – Peeled and Quartered
Extra Oil for Drizzing
Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste
Cut the cod into large pieces and put in a large bowl adding enough water to cover. Place in the refrigerator and let it soak for about 48 hours, changing the water a few times a day.
In a saucepan, combine 2 quarts of water, the onion and the garlic. Bring to a boil, add the drained cod and cover. After a few minutes, remove from the heat and allow the fish to just rest in the water until it is supple enough to be pulled apart using 2 forks – about 12. to 15 minutes. Use a spider (large slotted flat spoon) to carefully remove the cod to another dish. Reserve the water.
When the cod is cool enough to handle, carefully pick out the bones and remove the skin. Using a fork, flake the fish.
Bring the reserved water back to a boil and add the potatoes. Cook until very tender.
Transfer the potatoes to a large bowl and mash with a fork adding the olive oil while mashing until smooth and creamy. Taste for salt and pepper being very careful because the fish is salty. Mix in the flaked cod. Place on plates and drizzle with a little extra olive oil just as you serve.
NOTE: Baccala is a very traditional part of one of the many fishes eaten at Christmas and usually on Christmas Eve. Growing up I don’t ever remember a Christmas when we didn’t have Baccala in some form. We still continue this tradition in our house. Charlie prepares is several different ways. I’m not a fan of Baccala, but at Christmas it is delicious.