Baccalà with smoked murray cod

Baccalà with smoked murray cod

Nuovo Mondo
Alan Benson

Jim: This recipe consists of two preparations of cod. The first is murray cod that has been cured and smoked, similar to smoked salmon; the second is the classic Italian baccalà mantecato or creamed cod. Each is lovely on its own but together they are outstanding. You will need to soak the salt cod over a three-day period, changing the water several times during this time. Or look for shops that sell a desalinated fish.


Quantity Ingredient
150g murray cod, blue-eye trevalla or any other firm white fish, deboned and filleted
150g Basic cure
100g wood smoking chips
grilled slices of sourdough bread, to serve
capers, to garnish
extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling


Quantity Ingredient
500g salt cod, washed
400ml full-cream milk
1 bay leaf
1 thyme
4 whole black peppercorns
1 boiled potato, peeled
100ml pouring cream
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil


  1. Put some of the basic cure mixture in a bowl with the fish on top. Cover the fish with the remaining cure and press the mixture around the fish to ensure it is well covered. Refrigerate for 8 hours.
  2. Put the smoking chips in a deep roasting tray. Place the cod in a perforated baking tray that will fit inside the roasting tray with the chips. Stack the trays, cover with foil and place over high heat until the chips are smoking furiously. You can use a stovetop but this may smoke out your house, so an outdoor barbecue with a lid is the best option. Turn off the heat and leave for 20 minutes for the smoke to infuse. Turn the cod over and repeat this smoking step three or four times until the cod smells very smoky.
  3. To make the baccalà, put the salt cod, milk, bay leaf, thyme and peppercorns into a large saucepan and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and poach the cod for 15 minutes, or until the cod is tender. Strain and reserve the milk, discarding the peppercorns, thyme and bay leaves. Leave the cod to cool slightly, then squeeze out any extra moisture. Place the cod in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until the cod has broken down. Add the potato, cream, lemon juice, garlic and 2 tablespoons of the reserved milk. Continue to blend, adding the oil in a slow, steady stream. Taste and season with salt and more lemon juice, milk or oil, if needed.
  4. Serve the baccalà in quenelles on the bread with a few slices of the smoked cod arranged on tip. Garnish with capers and drizzle with olive oil.
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