In Italy, tradition requires certain dishes that are prepared just for the Christmas holiday, and we feature one such recipe: Baccalà salad. Baccalà is the Italian name for Cod fish that has been salted and then dried to preserve it.
Cod comes from the Atlantic ocean along the coast of New England, the Newfoundland banks, and the coast of Nova Scotia. It is cleaned, salted and then dried and sent to market.
Before cooking the Baccalà, you must soak it in cool water for a minimum of 12 hours, changing the water frequently. Always use an enamel or glass vessel, never metal.
The soaking process is necessary not only to remove much of the salty taste, but also to restore the fish so that it will flake easily. Because of the salt preservation, be cautious when adding salt while cooking the fish.
2 Lb. Salt Cod prepared as above
1 medium red onion
1 bunch arugola leaves
2 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp. chopped parsley
Juice of one lemon
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 boiled potatoes, chilled
2 hard-boiled eggs, chilled
Trim the restored Baccalà and cut into 2-inch slices. Place the slices in a sauté pan and cover with cold water. Add the celery and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until tender. Drain and set the fish aside to cool. Wash and drain the arugola. Cut the potatoes into 1-inch cubes. Slice the hard-boiled eggs and the lemon into wedges, length-wise. Slice the red onion very thin, and finely chop the garlic cloves.
Place the cooled Baccalà in a large salad bowl, add the onions, potatoes, garlic, parsley, lemon juice, olive oil. Toss together thoroughly, adding salt (careful) and ground black pepper to taste.
Arrange the arugola leaves on plates with the stems pointing to the center. Place the Baccalà Salad on the arugola leaves and garnish with the hard-boiled egg and lemon wedges.