It was the Vikings who first discovered how to preserve cod, caught in the cold North Atlantic, by salting and drying it. Because the salted cod was easy to transport, it found its way to most European ports, and from there to the villages inland, where for the first time fish started appearing at meal times. Salted cod, or baccalà, gained in popularity after the Council of Trento (1545-1563), in attempt to instil some morals into society, declared 130 days in the year to be fasting days. While one meal a day was permitted during fasting, no meat was allowed. Baccalà was an ideal substitute as it was usually available.
The recipe for Fritelle di baccalà originated in nearby Liguria, probably in the port of Genova, where the fish arrived by ship. Originally, it was a way of using up leftovers, but today it is a dish in its own right.
This recipe for fritelle di baccalà is from the excellent cookbook, Piatti Chiari, by Tiziana Falorni, who runs the restaurant, Alla Piazza di Sopra in Filleto, together with her talented daughters Chiara and Laura. If you’d like a copy of the recipe book, it is available directly from the restaurant and in bookshops in Lunigiana. You can also buy it online at Amazon.it and other online booksellers in Italy.
Fritelle di Baccalà
500g of rehydrated baccalà
100-150g plain flour
cold carbonated water
oil for frying
- In a bowl, mix the flour, water and chopped parsely until you have a smooth mixture
- Leave the mixture to stand for an hour
- Heat plenty of oil in a pan
- Cut the cod into pieces but don’t make them too large
- Add the cod pieces to the batter
- When the oil is hot, use a spoon to add the battered cod to the oil
- Fry until the fritters are golden brown
- Drain the fritters on paper towels
- Serve while still hot.
Ristorante Alla Piazza di Sopra
Piazza Immacolata 11
Filetto, Villafranca in Lunigiana, MS
Telephone 0187 493796/Cell 349 8783364
Open Tuesday to Sundays for lunch and dinner.
Fritelle di Baccalà appeared on Ciao Lunigiana on 26 January 2015.