Baccalà Crostini (Salt Cod Mantecato)

This dish is inspired by my sister–she munched on these all over Venice. Make sure you soak your salt cod for at least two full days prior to making to rehydrate and release some of its salty funk. Changing the salt cod water was one of my childhood chores, the first day water smell is seared in my brain. Change the water at least once a day and enjoy this classic. FYI, you are going to need an electric mixer or food processor.

#1Soak long enough to rid the fish of excess salt. #2Cook at a boil just long enough for the fish to begin to flake.#3I recommend Russet potatoes for this as the mixture will eventually be whipped. Be sure to save some of the cooking water! #4When topped with fresh parsley these make for great hor d’oeuvres.

INGREDIENTS
– 1 lb. salt cod (soaked for at least 48 hours)
– 1 cup olive oil
– 1/2 cup cream
– 1/2 cup poaching water from salt cod
– 1 boiled Russet potato
– 3 garlic cloves (minced)
– Fresh Pepper

DIRECTIONS

1) After soaking the baccala, cut it into roughly 4 inch pieces. Place into pot and cover with cold water. Bring water to boil and cook for approximately 20 minutes. The cod should be able to flake, but you do not want it mushy. Remove fish from water and let drain. Save 1/2 cup of boiled salt cod water.

2) Peel the boiled Russet potato. The potato should be cooked, but still tender when pierced by a fork or toothpick. You want it to add some texture once whipped.

3) Flake the fish into the electric mixer bowl and top with minced garlic. Beat at low speed to break up fish and mix in garlic. Next, slowly add 1/2 cup olive oil while continuing to beat at low speed. Turn speed to medium while slowly adding the potato and other 1/2 cup of olive oil. Once properly mixed, turn speed to high to whip mixture briefly.

4) Reduce speed and slowly add cream.  Then add 1/2 cup cooking water. Return speed to high and whip. Your mixture should be fluffy. If too dense, add some of the leftover salt cod boiling water.

5) Garnish with fresh parsley and sprinkle with fresh pepper. This is even better with dry white wine!

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