Baccalà alla cappuccina

Salt cod stew, capuchin-style   Traditional recipe of Friuli-Venezia Giulia

Salt cod, capuchin-style is a typical recipe of the North-East of Italy. Its origins belong to Venice, Friuli-Venezia Giulia and Trentino too for the influences of the Republic of Venice. This salt cod recipe is characterized by a lot of ingredients. Onions, raisins, pine nuts, nutmeg, cinnamon, bay leaves, anchovies, sugar, grated rind of lemon, fish or vegetable broth, white wine, olive oil and bread crumbs appear in all versions that I could read. The Italian Academy of Cuisine and other reputable sources also report 30g (1 ounce) of candied citron and a pinch of cocoa powder to be added together with the cinnamon. Contrary to what some people might think, given these ingredients that seem so heterogeneous, I assure you the dish is outstanding and worth experimenting with it. It's only long to do because it requires two different steps: stove and oven.

Italian recipe for stew salt cod with no tomatoes, rich in spices and aromatics
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Stewed salt cod without tomatoes

Ingredients / Serves 4

  • 800g (1 4/4 pound) soaked salt cod
  • 50g (1 3/4 ounce) all-purpose flour
  • 100g (3 1/2 ounces) onion
  • 1 to 2 dried bay leaves
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • Pinch of grated nutmeg
  • 40g (1 1/2 ounce) raisins
  • 30g (1 ounce) pine nuts
  • 4 anchovies in salt
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 organic lemon
  • 100ml (3 1/3 fluid ounces) dry white wine
  • 500ml (1 pint - 2 cups) fish or vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons plain dried breadcrumbs
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • Black pepper, if liked
  • Time:
    preparation: 30 minutes
    plus soaking time for raisins
    cooking: about 3 hours
    total: 3 hours and 30 minutes
  • Difficulty:
    easy recipe
  • How many calories in a serving?
    Calories: 416 (kcal) 21 % GDA (*)- 1743 (kJ)
    Protein: 43.0 (g) 86 % GDA
    Total fat: 16.9 (g) 25 % GDA
    Total carbohydrate: 24.9 (g) 10 % GDA
    Sugars: 11.6 (g) 13 % GDA

Look at infographic of nutrition facts

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Recipe for salt cod stew, capuchin style

Preparation and cooking

  • - Prepare salt cod.
    In the ingredient list I mention soaked salt cod and so if you buy salt-dried cod you have to soak it. In this case the right dose is 100g (3 1/2 ounces) per head.
    Soaking steps: cut salt cod in big pieces, put them in a large bowl and cover with cold water.
    Keep your bowl in the refrigerator but remember to change water at least every 8 hours.
    At the end of this step, salt cod should be deprived of its skin and any bones.
    Then it must be wiped dry with absorbent kitchen paper, cut into regular chunks and dipped in flour.
  • - Soak raisins.
    Put raisins in a little bowl and cover with warm water.
    Let raisins soak for at least 20 minutes and then squeeze from their soaking water very well.
  • - Prepare the other ingredients.
    Remove salt and bones from anchovies. Cut them into little pieces.
    Weigh pine nuts and sugar.
    Wash and pat dry lemon. Grate its peel and set aside.
    Prepare broth.
  • - Step 1: cooking on the stove.
    Place olive oil and onion, finely sliced in an oven-proof pan.
    Add salt cod pieces and brown on both sides on low heat. Be careful not to break them.
    Once browned, arrange salt cod pieces so that they can be next to each other.
    Do not leave any space.
    At this point sprinkle anchovy pieces, raisins, nutmeg, cinnamon, sugar, bay leaves (chopped cedar and cocoa powder if you want to add) on the surface.
    Somebody recommends to add lemon peel too. But I prefer to add it at a later time.
    Add salt and pepper but remember that salt cod is already salty and you shouldn't add any salt in my opinion.
    Pour in hot broth and bring to a boil, half-covered.
    Lower heat and go on cooking until cooking juice is almost reduced.
    Shake only your pan without turning over salt cod pieces to avoid they can break.
    When cooking liquid is about to reduce, heat up wine and preheat oven to 180 ° C.
  • - Step 2: cooking in the oven.
    Transfer your pan in the oven, after adding wine and continue cooking for about 30 minutes.
    At this point, sprinkle the surface with breadcrumbs and lemon peel and put in oven until a golden crust will form.

Just before serving

  • - Let your salt cod dish rest for some minutes before serving.

Note

Tips

  • - Let cooking liquid reduce according to your personal taste. I like salt cod, capuchin-style as you can see in the photo.
  • - In the research I did on this recipe, I realized it is used both salt cod and stockfish but in reality the choice should be stockfish that is called salt cod in Veneto. We Italian are sometimes a little complicated :))

Menu planning

  • - Serve salt cod stew accompanied by polenta as you can see in the photo.
  • - Obviously it's one-plate meal for your family menu.
    On the contrary if you wish to make your friends enjoy it you can open your menu with assorted Italian appetizers, serve this dish accompanied by polenta and close it wth a tasty Italian dessert.

Useful links for this recipe

What's the right wine for " Salt cod stew, capuchin-style "?

My husband and I usually match Ribolla Gialla (Collio DOC, white wine typical of Friuli-Venezia Giulia) remembering the first time that we were served this dish. But after we tasted salt cod stew even with red wine: Marzemino (wine of Trentino) and Merlot of Friuli-Venezia Giulia. Not bad!