Baccala Arrostito con Ceci (Roasted Salt Cod with Chickpeas)

April 7, 2013Posted in:

Baccala Arrostito con Ceci
Roasted salt Cod with Chickpeas
Serves 4

When we used to make salt cod in Pieve Santo Stefano, we’d wash the salt out by leaving the cod in the village fountain for a day. Today, most housewives leave the fish under running water in the kitchen sink, or let it soak for 2 days in the refrigerator, changing the water often-a less colorful, but more hygienic technique.

1 ½ cups dried chickpeas
1 pound fried salt cod
1 tablespoon salt, plus extra to taste
7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
¼ cup white wine
Baccala Sauce (recipe follows)

1. Rinse the beans, picking them over to remove any pebbles. Soak them overnight in 5 cups of cold water.
2. Soak the fish, refrigerated, in 6 cups of cold water for 24 hours, changing the water 3 times during the soaking.
3. When you are ready to assemble the dish, drain the chick-peas and put them in a pot with 6 cups of fresh water. Bring them to a boil, add the tablespoon of salt, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook the beans for 1 hour, until they are soft, then drain and transfer them to a baking dish. Mix the beans with 4 tablespoons of the olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
4. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Drain the refrigerated cod and bring 6 to 8 cups of cold water to a boil in a large stockpot. Add the cod and cook it for 7 to 10 minutes. (If you parboil it too long, it will become cottony.) Drain the fish and pat it dry.
5. Cut the fish into 4 serving portions. Rub the pieces with 1 ½ tablespoons of olive oil and a sprinkling of black pepper and place them in a second baking dish. Bake for 3 minutes, then drizzle the fish with the white wine and continue cooking for another minute. Drizzle the cod with the remaining 1 ½ tablespoons of olive oil and cook for 1 minute more, then remove the fish from the oven and keep it warm while you finish cooking the beans.
6. Switch the oven to broil and broil the chick-peas for 2 to 3 minutes. Spoon them onto 4 plates. Center a piece of codfish on top, and spoon a generous amount of the baccala sauce over all.

Baccalà Sauce
12 plum tomatoes
½ teaspoon salt, plus extra to taste
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon finely minced fresh rosemary
1 ¾ tablespoons chopped garlic
½ tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
¾ cup extra virgin olive oil

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Cut the tomatoes in half and place them on a baking pan, sprinkle them with salt and pepper to taste, and bake them for 25 to 35 minutes, until they start to brown at the edges.
2. Cool the tomatoes, then peel them and place half of them in a food processor along with the juices from the baking pan, the rosemary, garlic, parsley, vinegar, and ½ teaspoon of salt. Puree, adding the olive in a slow, steady stream. Chop the remaining tomatoes roughly by hand and mix them into the puree. The sauce is ready.