Ligurian Salt Cod and Potatoes – Baccala’ al verde con patate


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Salted cod and potatoes - plate from above

This is my mother in law’s (aka my Italian mother as she prefers I call her) recipe for “Baccalà al verde con patate“. From the research I’ve done online there are a gazillion ways to make this dish. It’s actually even less consistent than almost all of the Italian recipes I’ve seen.

With that said I made this dish almost exactly like my Italian mom does, and well it rocks! Like it worked the first time. It was simple and fast. I only made two tweaks to her recipe. I minced the garlic (she usually keeps it whole during cooking and then tosses it). I also added taggiasca olives, mainly because my husband loves them. He likes it when I add it to just about everything.

Have I mentioned that this dish is crazy easy to make? It’s almost like a one pot slow cooker meal, but better cause it cooks in only like 30 minutes. Yet you still get that warm soothing slow cooker – stew type feeling. This recipe can also easily be halved. And it reheats well.

The only element of difficulty here is the salted cod. It can be a process to get all the salt out. If you’re lucky though, you’ll have a supermarket or market that sells rinsed salted cod. (Look well that’s common in Italy). My supermarket also sells frozen lightly salted codfish. Which for all practical purposes tastes like re-hydrated rinsed salted cod.

If you don’t have the rinsed version readily available and can’t be bothered to rinse the dry salted version, feel free to try making this recipe with fresh cod. You’ll obviously have to add salt to the dish while it’s cooking. Please do tell me how it comes out.

Salted Cod and Potatoes - cooking

Ligurian Salt Cod Fish and Potatoes

1.5 lbs (680 gr) salt codfish fillets, well rinsed
4 large potatoes (approx. 800 gr)
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup pitted black olives (preferably taggiasca)
1/2 cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley
2 tbsp pine nuts (optional)*
2-3 garlic cloves, minced**
1/3 cup of white wine
1/2 cup water
salt and pepper to taste

Serves: 4 entree size portions – Total Cook Time: approx. 40 minutes

Salted Cod and Potatoes

1. Peel potatoes and cut into thick slices measuring about 1/2 inch in thickness. Cut codfish into 1 inch cubes.
2. Add olive oil to a large pan containing a lid. Next add potatoes. Sprinkle on garlic and half of parsley. Place codfish on top (skin side up if it has skin – my mother in law says that this way the salt from the cod can penetrate the potatoes). Top codfish with olives, pine nuts (if using), a pinch of black pepper and remaining parsley. Pour white wine and water on top of everything.
3. Cook on medium heat with lid for approximately 30 minutes, until potatoes are cooked through. Check on pot from time to time while cooking to make sure potatoes don’t stick, adding water as needed. The ingredients may bubble up while cooking you can leave the lid slightly ajar to let gases escape a bit.

*As you see the pine nuts are optional. My Italian mom makes it both with or without, depending upon her mood and whether or not she has it in her kitchen when making this dish.
** Italian garlic tends to be stronger than American garlic. Here I would use one clove. In the USA two would probably be best.

Salted cod and potatoes - plate from above

This recipe is also available on the food52 website at

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