Mantecato di Baccalà
Serves 6 as a starter/12 – 18 cicchetti
Baccalà is dried salt cod soaked and infused until it becomes soft and flaky before being whisked into a cream with a slow trickle of olive oil.
Prep begins 2 days before you want to serve the crostini. Put your salt cod in a large container of cold water. Leave it to soak for at least 48 hours, changing the water as often as possible to remove the majority of the salt.
1kg salt cod
– soaked in frequently-changed water for 48 hours before preparation.
150 ml full fat milk
350 ml water
2 bay leaves
Sprig of thyme
4 whole black peppercorns
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
Juice of half a lemon
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 small white onion quartered
200ml of extra virgin olive oil.
Crostini – 2 – 3 per person.
To make uour own crostini, bake thin rounds of baguette (regular or sourdough) in the oven until crispy.
Put the water, milk, onions, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, peppercorns and rehydrated cod in a deep can. Ensure the cod is completely covered by the liquid.
Bring to boil over a moderate heat, simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and leave to infuse for 15 minutes. Drain the cod reserving 2-4 tablespoons of the liquid for later use.
Clean the cod removing skin and any bones – the cod should flake and be nice and soft.
Put the cleaned cod in large bowl with the juice of half a lemon, a couple of tablespoons of the poaching liquid to loosen it up and add the chopped parsley.
Using an electric handwhisk (do not blend as the misture will lose texture and become like a paste) slowly add the oil as you would with mayonnaise. The fish will increase in size and become creamy and fluffy.
Season to taste with black pepper and salt if needed. Spread the Baccalà on warm crostini and serve with a thin wedge of lemon.
Salt Cod Heaven