Venetian cuisine is primarily derived from the blessings of the city's lagoon, and Crostini di Baccalà Mantecato showcases its aromatised flavours and grace. The history of Baccalà stems from the 1400s, described initially as a cod cream. Indulge in Venetian cuisine at our luxury villas near Venice or Verona or try your hand at making this classic dish using chef Laura Franceschetti's recipe.
The defining element of this Venetian tapas, typically served in the city’s best bacari (“wine bars”), is the cod, soaked in salt over two days to bring its flavour to the surface. The rich, creamy consistency of the cod mixture is laced with parsley and balanced perfectly with the crispy crostini, or toasted polenta which is a strong alternative. This salt-cod Baccalà is served at room temperature and is one of the best starters to represent Venetian elegance.
Crostini di Baccalà Mantecato (Salt Cod Crostini)
Serves 20 crostini - Cook in 40 minutes plus 2 days to soak salt cod fillet
- 300g salt cod fillet, or stockfish, pre-soaked, skinned and deboned
- 150g Extra-virgin olive oil
- 150g sunflower oil
- 5g salt
- Tuft of fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 1 baguette, sliced 1/2 inch thick
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (°C). Bring to boil a pan of salted water, and boil the pre-soaked, skinned and deboned salt cod fillet for 10 minutes. While the cod boils, briefly heat the oils (extra virgin and sunflower oil) in the microwave or bagnomaria.
Drain the cod, making sure to preserve one cup of the salted water. Use your hands to break up the boiled cod into flakes, remove any remaining skin and bones. Place the cod in a bowl and begin to “whisk” using a hand whisk, electric mixer or immersion blender. Continue to whisk, adding the oils (extra virgin and sunflower oil), chopped parsley and season to taste. Add the cup of salted water (put aside at the beginning), and continue to mix until you reach a creamy consistency.
Place slices of baguette on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes until golden, turning halfway through. In Venice, Baccalà Mantecato is typically served on a thicker slice of bread to balance the thick and creamy consistency of the cod...be generous when spreading the creamed cod. Instead of crostini, you can also serve Baccalà Mantecato on toasted polenta.
Savour your Baccalà Mantecato straight away on your choice of toasted bread or polenta, or keep in the fridge until ready to eat. Serve at room temperature. Buon appetito!