Teresa’s Spicy Baccàla and Potatoes Recipe

Prep Time Cook Time Serves
10m 20m 4

I discovered baccàla in Italy. It is cod that has been salted. Clearly something that originated in an effort to preserve fish before refrigerators. It is still sold in many European countries. The French also like their fish salted and they often make a puree out of it called brandade de morue.

In this recipe, my good friend Teresa keeps it simple – just like how she ate it growing up in the south of Italy. Fish, potatoes and a spicy tomato sauce. I say simple and spicy is good! Feel free to adjust the chili depending on your tastes.


  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
  • ½ teaspoon chili flakes
  • 3 cups (24 ounces) tomato purée
  • 1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, peeled, halved lengthwise and sliced into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 pound baccàla (dried and salted cod), cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Fresh crusty bread, for serving


In a wide saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic clove and sauté until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Add the chili flakes and cook for a few seconds, then add the tomato purée and bring to a boil. Add the potatoes, cover, and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 8-10 minutes or until the potatoes are just cooked through, but not falling apart. Add the cod pieces. If the potatoes and cod are not fully submerged, add enough water just to cover. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of the parsley, cover, and continue to simmer over low heat for another 3-5 minutes or until the cod flakes easily with a fork.

Remove the garlic clove and taste the sauce. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper, if desired. (Depending on the salt level of the cod, you may not need to add additional salt). Garnish with the remaining tablespoon of parsley and serve family-style right from the pan. Don’t forget the crusty bread for mopping up all that delicious sauce.


Sometimes you can find baccàla that has already been rinsed and bathed in fresh water. If not, you will need to “desalt” the fish by rinsing it with water and then submerging it in cold, fresh water for at least 24 hours and up to 48 hours in the refrigerator, changing the water frequently.

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