Baccala alla Vicentina

Recipe Courtesy of Italian Cooking and Living (
A web-exclusive recipe from Italian Cooking and Living

For the polenta:

  • salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 cups white cornmeal

For the codfish:

  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 shallot, sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 sage leaves
  • 4 anchovy filets, chopped
  • 1 1/4 lbs. codfish, soaked overnight in cold water, skin and bones removed
  • 1/2 white wine pepper
  • 2/3 cup half-and-half
  • salt
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons Italian parsley, minced
  • 1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons freshly grated grana padano

Prepare the polenta: Bring 4 cups of salted water to a boil; add the bay leaves. Pour in the cornmeal in a thin stream, whisking constantly, and cook over medium heat, stirring often, for about 40 minutes. Pour into a rectangular dish and cool. Meanwhile, prepare the codfish: Heat the 1/4 cup of the olive oil in a pan. Sauté the shallot, garlic, bay leaf, sage, and anchovies until the shallot is wilted. Cut the fish in similar pieces, and add it to the pan. Let it brown, about 5 minutes. Deglaze with the white wine and cook until the wine evaporates. Add hot water to cover all the ingredients, season with the pepper, cover, and cook for about 30 minutes. Pour in the half-and-half and adjust the salt, if necessary. Continue to cook for another 15 minutes. Remove the sage and bay leaves. Preheat the oven to 400°. Slice the polenta and arrange half of it on the bottom of a buttered oven-to-table dish. Top with half of the codfish, sprinkle with a little parsley, and repeat, making a second layer. Pour in the cooking juices of the codfish. Top with the bread crumbs, grated grana padano, and parsley. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil and bake for 20 minutes. Serve hot. Serves 6

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