Transform baccala - salted cod - into a light, airy flavorful mousse served on top of polenta crostini.
- Salt cod mousse
- 275 gm (9.7 oz) skinless, deboned salt cod
- 4 cups (I L) water
- 4 cups (I L) full-cream (whole) milk
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 bay leaves
- ¾ cup (180 ml) olive oil
- Small parsley leaves, to garnish
- 3 cups (750 ml) water
- 2 cups (500 ml) chicken stock
- 1½ cups polenta
- 1 tbsp + 1 tsp (25 ml) butter
- ¼ tsp pepper
- Olive oil, for grilling
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.
Soaking time: at least 24 hours; Chilling time: 1 hour
1. Soak the salt cod in cold water in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours, changing the water at least 4 times.
2. To make the polenta, line a 30 cm x 22.5 cm (12-inch x 9-inch) baking tray with baking (parchment) paper. Bring water and chicken stock to a rapid boil. Whisk in polenta, then reduce heat to low, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon. Cook polenta until it is firm enough to allow the spoon to stand straight up in it (about 20-25 minutes). Remove polenta from heat. Stir in butter and season with pepper.
3. Pour the polenta the lined baking sheet lined. Smooth out the surface of the polenta with a spatula, then cover with baking paper. Set a second baking tray on top of the polenta and weigh down using cans or other heavy objects. Refrigerate for 1 hour, or until polenta has set.
4. Cut set polenta into rounds with a biscuit cutter.
5. To make the salt cod mousse, when cod is finished soaking, remove from water and rinse. Cut the cod into smaller pieces.
6. In a large pot, bring the water, milk, crushed garlic, bay leaves and cod to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 25-30 minutes, covered, until cod is tender.
7. Drain cod, reserving 1 cup of cooking liquid. Place cod pieces in a food processor. With food processor on low, drizzle in olive oil. You are looking for a smooth and creamy mousse. If necessary, add reserved cooking liquid to food processor to adjust consistency. Transfer salt cod mousse to a bowl, and season with pepper.
8. Heat a cast iron grill pan over medium-high heat and brush with olive oil. Grill polenta rounds, turning once, until lightly charred on both sides. Remove polenta to a serving plate and allow to cool.
9. To finish, dollop salt cod mousse on the polenta crostini. Garnish with parsley leaves.