I must say, this is definitely a fantastic recipe so I’m not surprised it came from Babbo. It’s also incredibly easy, and on a night when I’m doing 7 fishes, the fact that it’s entirely make-ahead is a huge plus. In effect, this is the same dish that Spanish and French cuisines call Brandada or Brandade. It was so good that everyone wanted seconds and thirds. I will definitely be making this at other times of the year, because it’s too good not to. And because it’s such a simple recipe, it really makes sense to make the fresh breadcrumbs because they make such a difference in the final dish.
Baccala alla Vicentina
1 pound salt cod, reconstituted by soaking for 1-3 days in several changes of water
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1.5 cups milk
2 cloves garlic
5 red creamer potatoes or 3 Yukon gold potatoes
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 cup toasted fresh breadcrumbs
Cut the drained cod into pieces and put in a pan with the milk, wine, garlic, anchovies, potatoes, and a bit of the olive oil. Simmer for an hour, until the cod and the potatoes have softened.
Using an immersion blender, blend the cooked mixture into a paste while drizzling in the remaining olive oil. It should be like the consistency of oatmeal, so you may need to add more or less olive oil depending on how much of the liquid cooked off. Stir in the parsley. Spread into a baking dish and top with the toasted breadcrumbs. Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes or so, until the top is browned. You can serve with crostini or toast, or just eat it plain.