Baccalà alla potentina

Salt cod, Basilicata style   Traditional recipe of South Italy

Salt cod in Basilicata region but particularly in Potenza is cooked with the addition of black olives, raisins, tomato sauce, onion and olive oil. This salt cod recipe is distinctive because it is used fish broth obtained by boiling assorted fish (at least 400 to 500g, that is about 1 pound, fresh fish sold at market the day you decide to make this recipe) together with aromatics (onion, celery, parsley ... ) and wine in salted water. Fish broth is ready after about half an hour. Boned fish is then used for pasta sauce or put aside and served as second course. On the contrary broth, once filtered, is used for cooking salt cod. The preparation is long but the result are a lot of courses to be used even in more meals. This is a constant in the southern Italian cuisine.

Stewed salt cod with black olives, sultanas, tomato paste and onions
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Salt cod, Basilicata-style

Ingredients / Serves 2

  • 400g (14 ounces) soaked salt cod
  • 30g (1 ounce) raisins
  • 60g (2.1 ounces) black olives, stoned
  • 70g (2 1/2 ounces) onion, finely chopped
  • 50g (1 3/4 ounce) tomato paste
  • 500ml (1 pint - 2 cups) fish broth
  • 50ml (1 2/3 fluid ounce) extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper, if you like
  • Time:
    preparation: 15 minutes
    plus fish stock preparation
    cooking: 60 minutes
    total: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Difficulty:
    easy recipe
  • How many calories in a serving?
    Calories: 524 (kcal) 27 % GDA (*)- 2191 (kJ)
    Protein: 37.8 (g) 76 % GDA
    Total fat: 34.4 (g) 50 % GDA
    Total carbohydrate: 16.8 (g) 7 % GDA
    Sugars: 16.5 (g) 19 % GDA

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Recipe for salt cod, Basilicata style

Preparation and cooking

  • - Tips for soaking salt cod.
    If you buy salted fillets you have to soak salt cod in cold water for almost 48 hours, changing water often.
    I keep my bowl with salt cod covered with water in the refrigerator.
    Cut it into pieces and pat dry them with kitchen paper.
  • - Soak sultanas in warm water for about 15-20 minutes and then squeeze them very well.
  • - Cooking.
    Saute onion in olive oil in a pan and then add salt cod pieces.
    Let salt cod fry lightly on both sides and then add sultanas, olives, tomato paste diluted in half the hot fish stock.
    Season to taste with salt and pepper, only if necessary.
    Go on cooking, half-covered, stirring now and then with delicacy for about an hour adding remaining fish broth when necessary.
    Let cooking juice reduces very well.

Just before serving

  • - Serve your dish hot or warm.



  • - I usually prepare a great fish broth when I fillet fish such as sea bream, salmon, sea bass ... It's enough to sautè bones and head in olive oil, add a plenty of warm water and simmer for about half an hour. I often freeze it. So I made salt cod recipe you see in the photo with the sea bream broth I had frozen some weeks before. There were numerous fragments of sea bream in my recipe. The gravy became denser and appetizing in this way.
  • - The recipe that you have read follows quite closely the tradition but over time our food needs have changed. Read below how to decrease total fat and calories.

Menu planning

  • - A suggestion for a full menu. If you have used meaty fish (red snapper, grouper, hake, cod ...) to prepare broth, you can serve them just before your salt cod, topped with a drizzle of olive oil and lemon slices. If you have fish broth left, you can think of a seafood risotto.
    Serve your courses as follows: seafood risotto, fish for broth and at last salt cod recipe.
    Not bad as fish menu, isn't it?

Useful link fo this recipe

Healthy eating

  • - To reduce calories and fat lower the amount of olive oil. I generally use only 1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil.
    These are the result:
    Energy kcal 389 kJ 1626
    Protein (g) 37.8
    Total fat (g) 19.4
    Total carbohydrates (g) 16.8
    Sugars (g) 16.5
    Fibres (g) 2.2

What's the right wine for " Salt cod, Basilicata style "?

My husband and I suggest to prefer a red, young wine such as Aglianico del Vulture (red wine from Basilicata).