Salt cod fish or baccalà is traditionally served on Christmas Eve like as in this briny, bright tomato sauce over linguine. ~ by Deanna Segrave-Daly, RD
3 more days until my favorite meal of the year.
While Thanksgiving is a close second, our family 7 Fish Dinner on Christmas Eve is hog heaven for this seafood and pasta lover.
A long time tradition from my mom’s side of the family, this Italian-American meal fell by the wayside during my teen years and then about 10 years ago, my sister and I decided to start up the annual ritual again.
So, when this month’s Recipe ReDux theme was announced, it was kismet that this is the recipe I found on page 142 (ok, it was really page 141 because 142 was a full page photo.)
December Theme: Grab a Book & Cook
It’s the end of the year and we’ll taking a moment to reflect: Recipe ReDux has been around for 42 months! To celebrate, we’re playing a little party game this month: Grab your nearest cookbook and ReDux the recipe on page 42 or 142.
I grabbed the vintage (published in 1968 is pretty much vintage these days) cookbook that my aunt had given me during our Seattle visit. And there on page 141 of The New Complete Book of Pasta was a recipe featuring Baked Noodles with Dried Salt Cod.
Now, salt cod is also known as baccalà and it’s one of the traditional fishes served on Christmas Eve. It’s stiff as a board when you buy it and you must soak it for at least 24 hours in cold water, replenishing the water every few hours or so. It’s often pan fried and served with tomatoes, red peppers and/or potatoes or it’s served over polenta or pasta.
I took some liberty with the original recipe I found on page 141 and made it into a tomato based dish – typical of what we would serve on December 24th. While rehydrating and “de-salting” the cod takes a few days, the entire dish is pretty simple and makes for a hearty meal any time of year.Baccala (Salt Cod) Tomato Sauce served over pasta - a Christmas Eve tradition #7Fishes #thereciperedux @tspbasil Click To Tweet
Here are the 7 fish we usually serve on Christmas Eve:
#1 Antipasti Platter with Tuna
#2 Rosemary Shrimp Skewers
#3 Baccalà in Tomato Sauce
#4 Lobster Ravioli
#5 Fried Calamari
#6 Salmon Cakes
#7 Linguine with Clam Sauce
My sister’s Greek father-in-law always brings his homemade baklava so we joke each year about the irony of having bach-ah-la and ba-kla-vah at the same meal. #FoodNerds are we.
Baccalà (Salt Cod) Tomato Sauce over Linguine
Salt cod fish or baccalà is traditionally served on Christmas Eve like as in this briny, bright tomato sauce over linguine.
- Yield: 6 servings 1x
- 1 1/2 pounds salt cod (baccalà)
- 1/4 cup white whole wheat flour
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cups low sodium marinara or tomato sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 pound whole wheat linguine
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
- Cut the salt cod into several large chunks. Place in a large bowl with fresh cold water and cover (keep in a cool place.) Change the water several times a day, rinsing the cod each time. Do this for 24 – 48 hours.
- When ready to cook the fish, rinse off cod and pat dry. Cut into 1-inch pieces and dredge through flour.
- In a large skillet, heat butter and olive oil over medium high heat. Add cod (you may have to do two batches if skillet isn’t big enough) and cook for 5 minutes. Flip pieces over, add garlic and cook another 5 minutes. Add tomato sauce and black pepper; stir gently (cod pieces may break apart a bit and that’s fine.) Reduce heat to medium low.
- While sauce is simmering, make pasta according to package instructions (but omit salt as the cod will be salty enough.)
- Drain pasta and place in serving bowl. Pour cod sauce over top and sprinkle with Italian parsley. Serve immediately.
If you are a seafood and pasta lover, I hope you try out this recipe (any time you can find baccalà.) It’s worth the extra effort.
Have you ever eaten baccalà? If you celebrate Christmas, what traditional dishes do you always serve?
Check out what cookbooks our fellow ReDuxers are cooking from this month below!