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 mantecato, or Brandacujun
In Liguria is cooked in batter, green or sweet and sour sauce, or Brandacujun, mantecato, with polenta croutons.
olive or vegetable oil
chopped garlic (very little)
cooking broth or hot milk
How to make Baccalà mantecato:
Baccalà is Dried cod, or more appropriately “stockfish,” it came from the North in exchange for spices and has always been a significant part of Venetian cuisine. It can be prepared in many ways besides the following, which is perhaps the most popular.
How to make the baccalà mantecato: In an enormous container, cover dried cod with water; and leave to soak for 48 hours, changing the water periodically. Boil for 2-3 minutes in salted water. Divide into tiny pieces, including the skin and the bit of intestinal membrane found inside.
Put these pieces into a churn or food processor with appropriate attachment and beat together with a quarter of their weight in olive oil or, if preferred, vegetable oil – to be added very slowly, a little bit at a time.
Churn until everything is reduced to a sort of delicate cream, add salt and pepper to taste and flavor with a very little finely chopped garlic. The amount of oil can be increased if necessary. Some people add a bit of the cooking broth and/or a bit of hot milk to make the baccala mantecato creamier.