Baccalà alla Napoletana – Neapolitan Style Salt Cod

Baccalà alla Napoletana – Neapolitan Style Salt Cod

In Naples baccalà alla napoletana is as famous as pizza. It is salted cod historically eaten on a Friday as Neapolitans being good Catholics shunned meat. But it was also cheap & kept very well.

Baccalà cooked well is not fishy at all, some might say a little meaty, firm & slightly chewy.

A good fish monger or delicatessen will sell pre-soaked baccalà. Make sure you buy the thickest cut.

If you have bought dry baccalà you will need to soak the fish for as long as possible, preferably overnight. Rinse well with cold water to remove the excess salt & pat dry with paper towels.

Serves 4-6
1 ½ lbs/750g Soaked baccalà cut into pieces about 3” square
8oz/250g Plain white flour
16 fl oz/ 500ml Sunflower oil
4 fl oz/125mL Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Fine salt

For the tomato sauce
3 Large cloves of garlic
4 fl oz/125mL Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 ½ lbs/750g Ripe tomatoes, blanched, skin & seeds removed, cut into large pieces
Salt & freshly ground pepper
Chilli flakes to taste
2 fl oz/60mL Drained capers
3 oz/90g Black or Green olives, pitted

Make sure that there are no bones left in the baccalà, then flour all the pieces. Heat the vegetable & olive oil in a deep pan over a medium heat until the oil mixture is hot. If the oil is too hot, the coat will become golden whilst the insides will be uncooked. Fry the fish until golden all over for about 3 minutes on each side, sprinkle with fine salt to taste, then transfer the fish to a serving platter lined with paper towels until needed.

For the tomato sauce place a deep sauté pan containing the garlic & the olive oil over a medium heat. The pan should be large enough to hold the fish in one layer. When the garlic is golden, add the tomatoes & cook for 10 minutes, stirring every so often with a wooden spoon. Season with salt, pepper & chilli flakes.

Cook for a further 5 minutes, add the capers, olives & the fried fish. Simmer for 15 minutes, turning the fish a couple of times.

Transfer the sauce & the fish to a warmed serving platter, sprinkling parsley all over & serve hot.
Buon appetito!