Baccalà Florentine- Recipe Contest Winner

This recipe comes from Bona Furtuna fan Lori in Georgia and is the second of two winners from our Spring Recipe Contest in April. Check out our other recipe winner, a pork tenderloin loaded with Bona Furtuna flavor, here.

Along with this delicious recipe, Lori also shared her amusing story of how she first got roped into preparing this Baccalà Florentine dish for her Italian in-laws, a difficult challenge to say the least!

Enter Lori, to tell her story:

Many, many years ago as a young (non-Italian) bride married into a very Italian family, I was given the task of preparing the "Feast of the Seven Fishes" for our first Christmas Eve dinner. "Ok, I can cook and I like fish so why not?" I thought. My husband volunteered to shop at the Italian market to insure that I had all of the proper Italian ingredients. As I eagerly unpacked the groceries, I came across the cement hard, salty and yes, smelly cod (baccalà in Italian). Having never seen this before and not having the wonders of the internet to consult, I resorted to asking my husband what to do with the baccalà. He knew it needed to be soaked in water for several days, but beyond that...no clue. So I placed the baccalà in a container of water and so as to not smell up my tiny refrigerator, put it outside on our snowy balcony to soak.

Still having no idea how to prepare this delicacy, Christmas Eve came and I conveniently forgot about the soaking fish outside. It was a particularly harsh Indiana winter (where we lived at the time), so the balcony went unused for some time. As the spring thaw came in late March we started to notice an abundance of stray cats circling our apartment building. When we were finally able to go outside we immediately knew what was attracting the neighborhood cats. The forgotten baccalà was thawing in the spring sunshine. I vowed right then that I would conquer the dreaded baccalà next Christmas! This recipe has evolved over the years, and finally over the past few it has been perfected with the addition of the Bona Furtuna Marinara Sauce. While traditionally a holiday treat, this dish can be served all year-round as it is not particularly heavy due to the bright flavor of the marinara sauce.

 Prep time: 24 hours; Cook time: 25 minutes

 Ingredients

1 pound baccalà (dried salted cod fillet)

1 egg beaten

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1/2 cup olive oil (for frying)

1 1/2 cups (or more) Original Marinara Sauce

1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley

12 oz chopped fresh baby spinach

Heritage Blend Extra Virgin Olive Oil for drizzling

Pinch of Sicilian Sea Salt with Organic Lemon

Serve with Ancient Grain Organic Spaghetti

Directions

  1. One day ahead: Cut the dried cod into 4 pieces and let soak in cold water for 24 hours (changing the water frequently).
  2. For the fish: When ready to cook, pat fish dry with paper towel. Coat fish pieces with beaten egg. Shake off excess egg.
  3. Spread flower on sheet pan, sprinkle with fresh ground black pepper to taste and flour all sides of the fish.
  4. Heat olive oil in large frying pan. When the oil is hot add the fish and 1/2 of the garlic to the pan. Fry until lightly golden on both sides (10 -12 minutes).
  5. Remove fish from pan, reduce heat, add marinara sauce to pan and bring to a gentle simmer scraping up any bits of garlic left in the pan.
  6. Return fish to pan and let simmer on low heat for about 15 minutes.
  7. For the Spinach: While fish is simmering add a little olive oil to a saute pan and gently heat remaining garlic. When garlic begins to turn golden, add spinach turning up the heat. Cook until just wilted. Add a pinch of Sea Salt with Lemon.
  8. To Serve: Plate fish with a spoonful of Marinara on top and a sprinkle of parsley. Add spinach to plate and drizzle with a bit of Heritage Blend Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Serve with your favorite Bona Furtuna pasta and additional marinara.

Homemade baccala florentine with ancient grain organic pasta

How did this recipe turn out for you? Let us know in the comments below!

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