Pancetta Polenta w/Baked Baccala

Pancetta Polenta w/Baked Baccala

Polenta Pancetta w/Baked Baccala
Pancetta Polenta w/Baked Baccala

One of my favorite memories of the Christmas holiday was when my Mom would make baccala (heavily salted cod). We would go to an Italian market about 15 minutes from our house and he’d have the salted cod in wooden crates out in the open. We’d buy two huge filets of it, slice it, and soak it for 3 days to get the salt out (changing the water three times a day). Once we’d cook it in the tomato sauce…it was delicately flakey and had a salty, oceanic bite.

I wanted to make the salted cod with some Italian ingredients. I thought it might be fun to sprinkle in some crispy pancetta with some polenta and adorn the top of it with fresh parsley.

During the cold holiday weather in my area…this is a comforting, cozy and satisfying meal. The polenta is flavorful and filling…the fish is soft and tender and the pancetta is meaty and salty! Enjoy!


     Pancetta Polenta w/Baked Baccala

8 oz salted cod (baccala)

1 cup polenta

1 ½ cup chicken broth

2 oz pancetta (small cubes)

3 tbsp fresh parsley (chopped)

2 tbsp olive oil (divide in 1 tbsp portions)

Cut the cod in two portions and soak in water for 3 days (changing the water 3 times a day until the water is clear).

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Blot the cod with a paper towel and place on a foiled pan. Drizzle with 2 tbsp of olive oil. Salt and pepper if desired, but not too much salt. Place in the oven and cook for about 35 minutes until the fish is opaque all the way through.

Cube the pancetta and place in a dry, hot sauté pan. Cook for about 5 minutes until it is nicely browned. Put aside.

In a small pan, pour in the chicken broth and allow it to come to a boil. Add a small amount of salt and pepper if desired. Pour in the polenta, and stir with a whisk to make sure there are no lumps. This only takes about a minute or so, until the broth is absorbed. At the end, add the pancetta.

Pour polenta on the plate. Place the cod in the middle of the polenta. Sprinkle the fresh parsley on top of the dish, and drizzle the top of the cod with olive oil and serve! Enjoy!

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