Baccalà alla Lucana – Codfish Lucana style

baccalà alla lucana – Rocco Lucia CC BY 2.0


  • cod,
  • Gadus morhua
  • Gadus macrocephalus

How to make Baccalà alla Lucana – Codfish Lucana style

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Cod is the Nordic cod, Gadus morhua and Gadus macrocephalus, prepared for preservation through salting and subsequent seasoning.
When the northern cod is preserved by drying without salt, it is marketed under the name of stockfish. Although similar in appearance, it should be distinguished from codfish. In Veneto and the area of the Venetian domination, stockfish is, however, called bacalà, so much so that baccalà alla Vicentina is prepared with stockfish.


The significant countries of cod production are Denmark, Faroe Islands, Norway, Iceland, and Canada. G. macrocephalus is a fish found in the northern Pacific Ocean, whereas G. morhua is found in the northern Atlantic Ocean.
Cod is an essential element of popular cooking, in which its use alternates with that of stockfish, which is always cod but preserved employing drying.
To be usable, both cod and stockfish need a long immersion in cold water, which eliminates excess salt in the former and rehydrates the latter, giving the tissues their original consistency.
Most of the cod fished in the world came from the Grand Banks of Newfoundland (Grand Banks), an area of shallow waters located in the North Atlantic and Labrador’s coasts. Greenpeace’s red list indicates marine species at risk of extinction due to intensive fishing or whose farming methods are highly harmful to the environment.


Salting allows the preservation of the fish for a long time and for this reason it has been used since ancient times in order to allow the transportation and the consumption of the fish in places far away from its origin.
Fillet of cod (Gadus macrocephalus)
It seems that the procedure of salting cod is attributed to fishermen who, following the whales’ herds and arrived in the North Sea, met huge shoals of cod towards the island of Newfoundland and used for this fish the preservation process already used by them for whale meat.
Codfish is produced all year round as it does not require particular climatic conditions. For this type of preparation, cod fillets are covered with salt and left to rest for 3 weeks. After salting, it can also be dried for one more week. In both cases, it can be considered as cod only if the salt content is higher than 18%.
As opposed to codfish, stockfish is produced only in Norway, mainly in Lofoten islands, and only in the winter months, a period in which cods arrive in the neighboring seas to lay their eggs, and climatic conditions are favorable for drying.


“Cod” is derived from the Low German word bakkel-jau meaning “salted fish” which is a transposition of bakel-jau meaning “hard as a rope”, this word is used in many Neo-Latin languages (sp. bacalao or baccallao, por. bacalhau), while from the German word Kabel-jau are derived almost all terms in Germanic languages. According to another version, Sebastiano Caboto, in his voyage along the coasts of North America in 1509, saw the sea populated by fish that the inhabitants called “baccalai”; from this, he named those places “land of the baccalai”.

Baccalà alla Lucana

In Basilicata, in particular, in Avigliano, the so-called baccalà alla lucana is prepared, according to tradition, with dried and blanched sweet red peppers, called peperoni cruschi.
Codfish was a natural and proper fish food for the people of the Lucanian hinterland since the area was hilly and far from the sea. Easy to store and transport, it was an excellent alternative to meat dishes.


Baccalà alla Lucana is prepared by adding cruschi peppers and seasoned with oil and parsley. In addition, there is a less common variant made with peppers in oil or vinegar.


A typical Christmas dish, the “Sagra del Baccalà” (Codfish Festival) of Avigliano is dedicated to it. It is organized every year on the last weekend of August and includes shows and tastings of other local products.

Regional Recipe from Basilicata

Enrico Massetti was born in Milan, Italy.
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