From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Cod is the Nordic cod, Gadus morhua and Gadus macrocephalus, prepared for preservation through a process of salting and subsequent seasoning.
If the northern cod is preserved by drying, without the use of salt, it is marketed under the name of stockfish, which although similar in appearance, should be distinguished from codfish. In Veneto and in the area of the Venetian domination, stockfish is however called bacalà, so much so that baccalà alla Vicentina is in fact prepared with stockfish.
The main countries of production of cod are Denmark, Faroe Islands, Norway, Iceland, and Canada. G. macrocephalus is a fish found in the northern Pacific Ocean, whereas G. morhua is a fish found in the northern Atlantic Ocean.
Cod is an essential element of much popular cooking, in which its use alternates with that of stockfish which is always cod, but preserved by means of drying.
Both cod and stockfish, in order to be usable, 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 from the coasts of Labrador. It is on Greenpeace’s red list, which indicates marine species that are at risk of extinction due to intensive fishing or whose farming methods are extremely 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 particolare ad Avigliano, il cosiddetto baccalà alla lucana viene preparato, come da tradizione, con peperoni rossi dolci essiccati e scottati, detti peperoni cruschi.
Baccalà (dried salted cod) was a real fish food for Lucania’s hinterland people, as the area was hilly and far from the sea. Simple to preserve 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. 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