Bacala is an Italian preparation of cod. My mother-in-law, Maria, grew up in Sicily in the 40's. Bacala was a Christmas night dish that was a special treat for her family, who ate very little meat. And since they were an hour away (by train) from the ocean, fish was also a rare treat.
Traditionally, Maria's mother bought a salted cod to make Bacala. Sometimes Maria will splurge on salted cod at Cassanos and make this dish, but tonight, she made it from fresh cod, which is about 1/2 as expensive and less fussy.
Served with crusty white bread and a salad, this recipe makes Bacala for four. This is an easy one-pot dish. Takes about 30 minutes all-up and is delicious and simple.
- 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
- 3 TBS olive oil
- 2.5 cups of cauliflower - cut into little bite sized flowerettes
- 1/2 cup black Sicilian olives. I'll post a recipe for these soon. According to Maria -- most of the ready-made version of Sicilian olives are no good. She orders them salt-cured from California, then processes them. In a pinch, go to Cassanos and get some of their black Sicilian olives.
- 2 cups sugo. If no sugo, you can substitute one can crushed tomatoes.
- 1.5 TBS chopped parsley
- 1.5 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 lb cod - cut into 1 inch cubes. If you buy the salted version of this, then soak the cod in water for 3 days, changing out the water each day.
1. Saute chopped onions until they just begin to brown around edges. Add cauliflower and olives. Saute for a couple minutes on medium-high heat, stirring.
2. Add sugo or crushed tomatoes and a 1/2 cup of water. Cook until cauliflower is just soft -- a sharp knife easily pierces the cauliflower.
3. Add cod and parsley and salt (if you used salted cod -- you can probably omit the salt). Cover partially on medium-high heat until the fish "opens up."