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Baccalà: Step by Step. How to Prepare your Christmas Eve Baccala

Baccalà - Italian Christmas Fish - Salted Cod

Baccalà is Italian for salted codfish. It comes mostly from the coast of Labrador and Newfoundland, where it’s fished, salted and exported all over the world. Here are some tips for how to choose and prepare your baccalà.


  1. When you pick out a piece of baccalà remember that the color of the meat should be close to white and the skin light colored. Stay away from meat with a yellow hue.
  2. If sold whole, try to buy a long, thick fish; if possible it should be a bit more than one-inch thick in the middle of the filet.
  3. Prior to soaking, cut your baccalà into large pieces. Cutting the fish before soaking helps speed up the re-hydration process.
  4. At least two days prior to cooking (but we recommend 3 days, if you have the time), begin soaking your salted baccalà in fresh water (for at least 36-48 hours). First wash the pieces thoroughly, eliminating all the salt on the surface, and then completely submerge in any container that will hold a lot of water; change the water at least three times a day (every eight hours or even more frequently). While soaking, keep the baccalà in a cool place. Refrigeration is not necessary.
  5. Just before cooking, peel off the skin and eliminate any bones—a pair of small pliers will be very helpful for this.



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