Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Dec 11, 2004 09:37 AM

Baccala (salted cod) Spread

  • r

I saw a dish on The Italian Christmas Special on The Food Network. It was a spread for crostini made primarily with the cod and potatoes then put in the food processor to make the spread. It wasn't on the website with some of the other recipes from that show.

Has anyone made something like it and can share their recipe??


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Look in a French cookbook for Brandade de Moru. It is the same stuff and really yummy.

    1. Here's a version of brandade from a holiday book from Gourmet. I haven't tried it, but it looks relatively simple.


      1. Can anyone recommend a good mail order source for salt cod?

        10 Replies
        1. re: Raven

          La Tienda ( sells what appears to be a high-quality salt cod. You can get good salt cod just about anywhere here in the Boston area, so I've never needed to order it, but based on the quality of their other products I'm sure it's quite good.

          1. re: FlyFish

            Thanks for the recommendation. Latienda is exactly what I've been looking for.

            1. re: FlyFish

              I love salt cod, but have never prepared it at home for fear of the stench during soaking (I did not grow up with it but first encountered it years ago in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, formerly the world's salt cod capital). I have a housemate on whom I would not inflict this unvoluntarily....

              No cookbooks talk about it, but my childhood Italian friends always talked about it at the holidays. Was the stench fiction? Or an overreaction?

              Any clues for the clueless?

              1. re: Karl S.

                Pure fiction, Karl. Much of the time I don't even bother covering the container I'm soaking it in. You get a bit of a fishy smell when you cook it, but it seems to me to be less than what you get with fresh fish.

                1. re: FlyFish

                  I'm puzzled too. Salted codfish has long been a staple food here in Bermuda and I can't recall any awful smell while it soaks.

                  1. re: FlyFish

                    Oh, thank you. I must now explore. I live in the Boston area, so good stuff can be had. I actually prefer the taste and texture of salt cod (prepared well, that is) to fresh -- it's just so lusciously good. So I can feel more confident about trying it out at home. This is a good time of year to procure (b/c of traditional Christmas Eve dishes involving molto pesce in excelsis), hence my question.

                    1. re: Karl S.

                      In addition to the cute little boxes of skinless boneless cod you see everywhere, you're probably aware that you can get the real "still looks like a fish" thing, complete with skin, bones and various other nasty parts, from grocers in the North End. My wife works in town and she likes to bring it home on the train - one way of getting a whole row of seats for yourself, I suppose.

                      We really go through a good bit of salt cod at our house. In addition to the brandade I mentioned in another post, we particularly like piquillo peppers stuffed with a cod mixture - but our all-time favorite main dish with salt cod is a Portuguese recipe called Bacalhau a Gomes de Sa (from Jean Anderson's book) that involves layering salt cod with fried potato slices and fried onions, then drizzling with lots of good olive oil and baking. Something like Portuguese lasagna, I guess. If you're interested and don't have access to the book let me know and I'll post a paraphrase of it.

                      1. re: FlyFish

                        Have you tried making codfish cakes? The traditional Sunday morning breakfast in Bermuda is codfish and potatoes, with the leftovers mashed up with thyme, parsley and an egg to bind, lightly floured then sauteed. I bypass the breakfast and go straight to the fishcakes.

                        1. re: Athena

                          I've had them in restaurants, but not tried making them myself. You've convinced me I've got to give them a try at home.

                  2. re: Karl S.

                    interesting -- i am just now investigating making an italian bacalao salad for xmas eve, and asked an italian friend for a recipe. she also mentioned the smell issue. on a related topic, does anyone have a good recipe for this? or suggestions on how to pick a nice piece of salt cod?

              2. I much prefer brandade without the potato. I use a recipe based on Jasper White's from his New England Cooking book. It's very simply salt cod, heavy cream, EVOO (as our friend Rachel would say), and garlic with some pepper, all whizzed around in the processor. I then add a small amount of fresh bread crumbs to get the consistency I'm looking for. Instead of the traditional use of it as a spread, I like to put it into very small souffle-style dishes, bake it until it's bubbly and crispy on the top, then serve it as a starter.

                A brief story - I attended a Ch. Lynch-Bages wine dinner at Icarus in Boston many years ago. Jean-Michel Cazes, owner of the chateau and one of the true luminaries of the wine world, IMHO, happened to be in the country at the time and he stopped by. They served brandade as a starter, and when it was Jean-Michel's turn to tell us a bit about Lynch-Bages he spent nearly as much time waxing ecstatic about the brandade and how it reminded him of his childhood as he did talking about his fantastic wines.