Baccala Mantecato Con Polenta. (Corn Meal / Maze)
The recipes for salt cod in Spain, Portugal and Italy are many and varied-and with the exception of the magnificent grand aioli, they are also the essence of simplicity to prepare. The Venetians make this dish, which is similar to the French brandade, and spread it, warm, over crisps, fried pieces of polenta.
460g salt cod
1 Onion, peeled
1 Stick of Celery
1 Bay leaf
12 Black peppercorns
A sprig of thyme
200 ml good olive oil
The juice of 1 small lemon
2 Tbsp Chopped Parsley
2 to 3 plump cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped.
A tray of cooked, cooled polenta ( corn Meal) Maze.
The Cod may require 2 to 3 days soaking before you can use it, and would require at least 4 to 5 changes of water whilst soaking. You can tell if the fish is ready for cooking when the Cod ( fish) has gone white and the flesh has softened considerably.
Chop the vegetables into large pieces, put them in to a large pot with the herbs, and cover with cold water ( there should be sufficient to cover the fish, too, which goes in a little while later). Bring the pot to the boil, and simmer for 15 minutes. Now add the Cod ( fish) and continue simmering for a further 5 Minutes. Turn off the heat, and set the pot to one side until the Cod ( fish) is cool enough to handle.
When the fish is cool, careful remove any skin and bones, place the flesh into a food processor with the garlic. “pulse” the fish and garlic into a soft paste, then pour in the olive oil in a thin stream. ( If the texture of the mixer appears too thick, then add a little of the cooking juice stock liquor.
Finally add the parsley and pepper. cut the Polenta ( corn meal/ maze) into pieces, dip them in flour and fry until golden and crisp. Place the cooked Polenta ( Corn meal / Maze ) on a plate, and spread it lavishly with the cod (fish) paste.