Tom Gilbert's Baccala' Alla Napoletana

June 20, 2016

This is real Italian soul food — hearty and unrefined — and there are varieties on this recipe to be found all over Italy. Often, the potatoes are omitted and the dish is served over pasta.

Baccala' Alla Napoletana (Salt Cod With Potatoes In Tomato Sauce)
Makes 4 to 6 servings

  • 4 medium starchy potatoes
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup black olives, pitted and roughly chopped
  • 1 large Spanish onion, thinly sliced
  • Flour for dredging
  • 1 1/2 pounds thick, desalted salt cod cut into large pieces
  • 4 cups canned San Marzano tomatoes, with juice
  • 1 tablespoon dried or 2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons salted capers, soaked, drained and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Salt

Peel the potatoes and boil them in salted water until slightly undercooked. Drain and slice into 1/4-inch thick slices.

Over low heat, sauté the olives and onion in a tablespoon or 2 of olive oil until the onions soften (about 5 minutes). Remove and set aside.

Raise heat to medium. Add the remaining olive oil to the pan. Dredge cod lightly in flour and fry on both sides until brown. Remove cod and set aside.

Add to the skillet the tomatoes, oregano, wine, lemon juice, capers and half of the parsley. Cook until sauce begins to thicken (10 to 15 minutes).

Add the cod and potato slices back to the skillet, turning them in the sauce. Cover with the onion and olive mixture. Add a few generous grinds of black pepper. Turn heat to very low and simmer slowly for 45 to 60 minutes, adding water in small amounts if the dish begins to dry out.

Sprinkle with the remaining parsley before serving; drizzle with more olive oil or add another squeeze of lemon juice if you like. Taste and correct for salt.

Source: NPR Kitchen Window

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