Baccalla Alla Vicentina, using stockfish

Ingredients for 12 people:

– 1kg of dry stockfish

– 250g of onions

– 1/2 litres of olive oil

– 3/4 salt sardines

– 1/2 litres of fresh milk

– Some white flour

– 50g grated mature cheese

– A tuft of chopped parsley

– Salt and pepper

Soak well-bashed stockfish in cool running water, changing it every four hours for two to three days.

Remove part of the skin. Cut the fish alongside and remove the fishbone. Cut it in square pieces, making sure the size of each piece is more or less the same. Finely chop the onions and cook them in a small pan with a glass of oil until brown.

Remove salt and bones from sardines, cut them into pieces and add them to the onions.

Then, turn the fish off and add a tuft of chopped parsley.

Flour the pieces of stockfish, sprinkle them with the onions and sardines browned in oil and place them one next to the other in a terracotta or aluminium pan or in an oven dish (make sure you cover the bottom with a few spoons of onions and sardines browned in oil); cover up the fish with the remaining part of the onions and sardines browned in oil and add milk, grated mature cheese, salt and pepper.

Add oil until you cover all the pieces, levelling them.

Leave the pan on the fire for about four and a half hours, making sure you rotate it every now and then, without stirring. This cooking phase is also known as ‘pipare’ in the local dialect.

Only experience can tell you how long you have to cook the stockfish for, whose stiffness may differ from one fish to another.

Serve piping hot with a slice of polenta.

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