This recipe evolved from my Puttanesca Sauce Recipe and a recipe I read for a dried codfish soup (Zuppa di Stoccafisso) which had as the principle ingredients dried codfish and tomato sauce. The problem is that I had never seen dried codfish sold in our community but thought that properly washed salt fish would be a good substitute. (It turns out that salting replaced drying about 400 years ago as the dominant form or preserving cod.)
Since most of my friends prefer pasta over soup for dinner, I decided on a pasta sauce using my Puttanesca recipe as a base and adapting for the fact that I had no olives of any kind and didn’t feel like going to the store so substituted a bay leaf.
It turns out if my Italian were better, I could have saved myself the trouble and deprived myself of the fun of developing my own recipe and just found one for “Baccala alla Marinara” which is the real name in Italian. There is really not much difference in the recipes as the traditional ones uses olives instead of Bay, but I knew that. Also, they skip the sweet and hot of basil and hot pepper in favor of oregano. Overall, the rest of the ingredients are about the same and I suspect the flavor is still very close.
1 T olive oil
2-3 cloves minced garlic
1 thin slice fresh hot pepper (optional) or ¼ tsp dry oragano
¼ pound washed cleaned and deboned salt fish
1 cluster of fresh basil (1 tsp dry)
1 bay leaf
1 can (15 oz diced tomatoes) or use favorite prepared sauce
- Clean the salt fish by washing the crude salt off under the tap, soak it in clean water for one hour, change the water and soak for 2 hours, change the water again and soak over night in the refrigerator.
- Add the olive oil, pepper and garlic to the pot and saute for 30 minutes.
- Remove the pepper slice, and layer the salt fish, basil and bay then cover with tomatoes or tomato sauce.
- Put on coffeemaker hot plate and cook for 2 more hours then stir contents.
- Hold on coffeemaker until ready to serve and remove bay and basil prior to serving over your favorite pasta.
I loved it and so did a friend who only eats fish.