Mild winter day in Split.
I am walking down the shady, old, streets of Diocletian Palace.
It looks as if the Palace is veiled with distinctive, sharp smell of cooked codfish. I do not need a calendar, it must be December, just few days before Christmas.Well known smell is coming from every “portun” (entrance hall of the house), from every “konoba” ( dalmatian tavern).It looks that competition for the best bakalar dish has already started. These days you can taste bakalar from 11am ‘till late in the evening in each restaurant, coming in several version.
The most popular ways of preparing Bacalar in Dalmatia are “Na bilo” (“On white”), “Na crveno” (“On red”).
Also we are preparing it on Sailors way, fried in oven, warm-cold bakalar salad, bakalar patty bakalar u skartocu (in baking paper)., bakalar with pasta…it is never- ending list,really.
Traditionally, solely recognized and respected in Dalmatia is Dry codfish (stokfish, stoccafisoo, dried on wind).
There is always a big fuss about which codfish is the best.?
After many years I found out that the best dry cod fish is Norwegian one.
Now the great mission starts: I have to soak it in water for 5-6 days, changing water every few hours.It is a bit too much to have it on my mind in the pre Christmas days.
So, this year I’ve decided to prepare it from vacuumed cod fish.( have to soak in ether water only 2 days). It is not a sin to deviate from tradition a bit :)).
Please buy Norwegian codfish, marked “range”,(vacuumed) which means the best quality.
Quality is very important when you are preparing codfish meal! (not even extra virgin olive oil can save it).
Put fish in large sauce pan and soak it in the water for 2 days, change the water twice.
INGREDIENTS: (for 8 persons)
- 600-700g codfish
- 9 potatoes
- 2 onions(cut in half)
- 2 bay leaves
- 7-8 garlic
- 3-4 dl olive oil
- parsley, chopped (optionally)
- celery root, cut in cube 3x3cm ( optionally, according some sources it is not traditional Dalmatian, but it improve final taste)
- Place the codfish into a large pan together with onions, celery, 2 cloves of garlic, bay leaves and add water, just to cover it.
- Cook it covered until it start to simmer, than continue to boil uncovered for 10 minutes.
- Take it aside, but leave codfish in water for next 30 minutes.(save the water, you’ll cook potatoes in it).
- Clean the fish from skin and bones.
- Separate the fish meat into flat pieces using your fingers.
7. Place cod fish and warm potatoes in a big pan, add minced garlic, parsley, salt, pepper and add a generous amount of olive oil.
8. Cover the pan and shake it well, then try it and if needed add more olive oil (codfish loves it) paper, salt, parsley.