This is a special meal for Italians, as it is only eaten twice a year; once at Christmas and once during Easter. It is a very festive dish and everyone in my family looks forward to it. Poh & Co. 2
- 2 kg pieces dried salt cod (see Note)
- 225 g (1½ cups) plain flour
- olive oil, for shallow-frying
- 1 large onion, roughly chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp finely chopped basil
- 3 × 400 g tins diced tomato
- pinch of sugar
- ground black pepper
- 4 potatoes, cut into 2 cm-thick chunks
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
You will need to begin this recipe 2 days ahead.
Soak the fish in water for two days, changing the water each morning and night. Drain.
Place the flour in a bowl. Chop the fish into approximately 4 cm × 3 cm chunks, then dip into the flour to coat, dusting off any excess.
Heat the olive oil in a large, deep, non-stick frying pan over low–medium heat, then fry the fish for 2–3 minutes on each side or until light golden. Set aside on paper towel to drain.
Add the onion, garlic and basil to the pan and cook, stirring to scrape up any pieces caught on the base of the pan, for 4–5 minutes or until softened and translucent. Add the tomato, then fill one of the empty tins with water and add to the pan to stop the sauce becoming too thick. Stir in the sugar, then season to taste with pepper and bring to the boil over medium heat. Add the potato to the pan and stir to coat in the sauce. Top with the fish pieces, spooning some sauce over to coat. Bring back to the boil, then cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 45–50 minutes or until the potato is cooked and the fish is tender.
• You can buy the cod in a packet that has two pieces. The packets are 900–1000 g each and two packets (four pieces) were used in this recipe. You can ask for baccala and most continental delicatessens will know what you mean. You can either dry the fish yourself or buy it pre-dried from any good continental food shop.
Photography, styling and food preparation by china squirrel.
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