Baccala

Dried salted cod, a staple for years at our Christmas Eve Vigil. We had previously taken a trip to South Philadelphia to obtain the very best ingredients for this very special meal. A little Italian deli on 13 Street where my mother-in-law slipped into her native tongue placing her order for many of the items she needed for the feast.  I reminisce fondly of the heckic pace set by my mother-in-law as she prepared each dish for her beloved family. A very proud woman and a master in the kitchen, the dried cod had finally finished its three day bath and was ready for the finale. Mom would pat the cod dry and place it to the side. She would then heat olive oil in a medium size sauté pan. When the oil was hot she would add a medium onion, chopped and sauté about 3 minutes. I can see her clearly, wearing an apron she had designed, hand on  her hip, stirring with a wooded spoon. Next pieces of the cod were gently nestled amongst the onion. The cod would cook about 3-5 minutes per side depending on the thickness. Then a can of good Italian tomatoes was added. Once the cod and tomatoes come to a simmer she would add about a 1/2 cup black cured olives, a 1/4 cup raisins, a hefty tablespoon parsley, salt and pepper to taste. The stew would simmer for about 15 minutes and then moved from the heat so the flavors would come together. Later that evening the stew was reheated gently before serving. Salted cod is a staple through out the world used in many dishes including cod cakes and a cod with potatoes, avocado, banana and egg breakfast in Bermuda. I must admit though that fresh cod makes for a tastier stew, sorry Mom! 

My wish for all is that you too have wonderful memories of Christmas. If not there is no time like the present!  Buon Natale 🎄

  

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