Baccala is one of those dishes that just has to be on an Italian table on Christmas Eve. Even if no one likes it, it's like a rule. Kind of like the Easter Bread on Easter. You just have to have it. Well, in my family at least!! Growing up my Dad was the only one who ever ate this. But, as we grew up and agreed to taste it....my brother, sister and I grew to love it. I definitely think that my mother got better and better at making this through the years. She has now mastered the Baccala and it is still her job every year.
1 LARGE-THICK PIECE OF BACCALA BLACK OLIVES WHOLE HEAD OF GARLIC 1/2 CUP CELERY DICED SMALL HANDFUL OF FRESH PARSLEY 1/2 LEMON JUICED OLIVE OIL PEPPER
Gigi's best advice is try to find a thick piece of Baccala. It holds up nicer during the soaking process. So Baccala is a salted, dried fish. It is actually simple to prepare. It just requires a small amount of love and attention. So, first you will need to put the piece of Baccala in a deep dish or pot and completely cover it with water. It will sit in the water for a solid three days in your refrigerator.
Here is where the love and attention comes in....you will need to change the water to fresh water twice a day. Preferrably once the morning and once at night. This will remove all the salt in the fish.
That's the hardest part....you're practically done. Now, change the water one last time and put the whole pot on top of the stove. Bring it to a boil and slowly simmer for about 15 minutes or until the fish is fork tender and breaking apart.
Just remove from the water and let it rest in a strainer for a while.
Break up the fish a bit more into smaller pieces. Add the finely chopped garlic, fresh parsley, celery, juice of 1/2 the lemon, a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of black pepper. I would not add salt immediately but, we did soak most of it out. So, add all of the other ingredients first and then taste and you decide if you need to add some back in.
Gigi's recipe is simple and delicious.....and a requirement on the Italian table!!!! Thanks Gigi!!!!! Delicious as usual!!!!