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Baccala Al Forno

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  • 1 1/2 lb Baccala; (salt cod), preferably skinned and boned
  • 2 1/2 c Fresh tomatoes; peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped
  • 2 lg Russet potatoes; cut in wedges, up to 3
  • 1 lg Onion; cut into sixths lengthwise
  • 2 Garlic cloves; halved
  • 1/2 c Oil-packed black olives; drained
  • 1/2 c Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper; to taste
  • 3/4 c Dry bread crumbs
  • 1/2 c Extra-virgin olive oil


1. To rehydrate the salt cod, soak it in cold water, keeping it covered in the refrigerator. (See choosing and preparing tips to follow) Drain and rinse in fresh water, remove any skin and bones that remain, and cut the flesh into 2" chunks.
2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
3. Place half of the tomatoes in a 10x14" baking dish. Place the salt cod, potatoes, and onion in a single layer over the tomatoes. Arrange the remaining tomatoes, garlic, and olive on top. Sprinkle over the parsley, salt, and pepper, then cover with bread crumbs. Drizzle the top with the oil, distributing it evenly over the dish. Pour over 1 c. of water, being careful not to disturb the bread crumbs.
4. Bake the dish in a preheated oven until the potatoes are tender and the bread crumbs are golden brown, about 1-1/2 hours. Choosing and Preparing Cod:
· When buying salt cod, or baccala, select meaty, white fillets, not thin dark pieces. The skinless and boneless variety eliminates tedious preparation techniques. Traditionally preserved salt cod has a high salt content and is very dry. It should be soaked for two days, and the water must be changed twice a day. Today, salt cod is often preserved with less salt than in traditional methods, and the flesh is still somewhat soft. This greatly reduces the soaking time.
· To rehydrate "soft" salt cod, soak it in cold water for 24 hours. Keep the bowl covered in the refrigerator and change the water twice.
· Drain the salt cod and rinse it thoroughly in fresh, cool water. Pull off any skin and remove any remaining bones before cooking.
Copyright credit: 1996 Julia dela Croce © 1996 Lifetime Entertainment Services. All rights reserved.
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