Ligurian stockfish recipe

This Ligurian stockfish recipe is a stew made from dried or salted fish, tomatoes and potatoes.

It is last call for dried or salted cod bought in Southern Italy in the fall. Shop owners always find it hilarious to see Scandinavians stock up on a Scandinavian specialty in Italy, and they do not quite believe us when we say that dried fish costs three times as much, when bought 2 500 closer to its native waters. One of life’s small paradoxes.

As we don’t want to change a tenderloin steaks for preserved cod, we prefer to buy Norwegian fish to last the winter in Italy. It keeps fine in the refrigerator for a couple of months, and the craving for this kind of food passes with the winter.

This year I used the last baccala in a Ligurian recipe, according to which the fish should be boiled directly in the suace. Normally, I give it a boil and throw away the water, before mixing the fish with the other ingredients, but this had to be tried, and the result was unsurprisingly …. salty. Next year I think I will stick to my old habits and boil the cod a little on its own first.

500 g baccala, stockfish or other kind of dried salted cod
1 red onion
2 cloves garlic
1 celery stick
1 carrot
1 ltr vegetable stock
2 cans of tomatoes
5 potatoes
Olive oil, pepper, (salt)
Pine nuts, parsley or fresh basil

Leave the fish under water for 24 hours to remove the salt. Change the water 2-3 times along the way.
Put the fish in boiling water for 5 minutes
Drain fish, remove skin and bones and cut it into fair sized cubes
Clean, peel and chop onion, garlic, celery and carrot finely and fry it in olive oil.
Add the cod and let it steam for a few minutes
Pour in stock and tomatoes, but remember it is not a soup.
Peel the potatoes, cut them in pieces, and add them to the pan, so they can help to thicken the sauce.
After 1-1½ hour the dish is ready to serve with good Italian bread and a sprinkling of pinoli, parsley and/or basil.

Great altenatives to this Ligurian stockfish recipe

Salmon Ceviche

Italian fishballs

Marinated anchovies

Sole with spinach and white sauce

Pollack with tomato sauce

stockfish recipe


7 replies
  1. Ele
    Ele says:

    I really like your recipes, especially for fish. However, some require ingredients the cost of which amount to a night at a hostel :-) Can you recommend some recipes that are plain, simple but still delicious?

  2. Marcia
    Marcia says:

    My Nigerian friends use stockfish a lot in their cooking. I didn’t realize it was popular with Scandinavians as well. We use a lot of saltfish, bacalao — will have to try this recipe.

    • admin
      admin says:

      I don’t think stockfish is popular with Scandinavians though it is produced here. In fact most people wouldn’t know how to eat it, but after a visit to Portugal many years back, I’ve become addicted.

    • admin
      admin says:

      I still get all worked up about food costs and origin – like when discount supermarkets in Puglia sell cheap tomatoes from Holland. Yuk.


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