Baccala is a traditional Italian appetizer served Christmas Eve. I took the traditional recipe and put a spin on it for this Balsamic Baccala I created for a recipe contest. I had to make an appetizer and a main dish using the Cristobal Saltfish I was sent from CFE International. The main course recipe will be posted soon!
What is baccala, or baccalao as its called in other cultures? It is saltfish; fish salted as a means of preserving before being dried. Now saltfish goes in the freezer, but it was a way of preserving fish before refrigeration became available.
The most important step when cooking saltfish is to soak the salt off. I cannot stress this enough. I forgot once and whew doggie. The packaging suggests 6 hours of soaking with periodic changes of water. I prefer to soak over night and then continue to soak until I’m ready to cook the saltfish, changing the water every few hours throughout the day.
- 1 pound salted cod fillets
- ½ cup artichoke hearts
- ½ cup green olives
- ½ cup roasted red pepper strips
- ¼ cup chopped onion
- 2 hard boiled eggs
- ½ cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
- Soak salted cod fillets in water for 12-24 hours, changing water for clean water every 2-3 hours.
- Boil fillets in clean water for 20 minutes. Drain water and shred fillets with a fork. They should shred easily, if not boil 5 minutes more.
- Chop artichoke hearts, olives, onion, and roasted peppers into bit sized pieces. Toss in with the shredded cod, mixing evenly as possible.
- Whisk balsamic vinegar, olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes together in a small bowl.
- Pour balsamic mix over the baccala and mix well, being sure to fully coat the baccala.
- Refrigerate at least 2 hours, and garnish with sliced hard boiled eggs before serving.