Uncle Vincent’s Christmas Eve Baccala

  • Yield : 12 servings
  • Cook Time : 10m
  • Ready In : 10m
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  • 4 pounds dried salt cod, cut into 3-inch pieces, soaked
  • 8 to 10 all-purpose potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 1 cup fine quality olive oil
  • 1 bunch celery, trimmed, well washed, and cut into 3-inch pieces
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cups Gaeta olives, pitted
  • Four 28-ounce cans hand crushed San Marzano plum tomatoes, with juice
  • 12 cups chicken broth
  • Salt, to taste


Step 1

Soak the cod in cold water to cover in a cool spot or refrigerator for at least 24 hours or up to 3 days, changing the water frequently. After 24 hours, break off a tiny piece of fish and taste for saltiness. If fish is still quite salty, continue soaking until water is very clear and fish is almost sweet in taste.

Step 2

Place potatoes in cold water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook for about 15 minutes or until potatoes are almost cooked through. Drain.

Step 3

Heat oil in a large, heavy bottomed casserole over medium heat. Add the celery and saute for about 5 minutes, then add the onion and saute until vegetables begin to get soft. Add the olives and saute for an additional minute. Stir in the tomatoes and their juice. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Step 4

Stir in broth and return to simmer.

Step 5

Stir in the potatoes and the soaked baccala and simmer for about 10 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked and the baccala flakes when poked with a fork.

Step 6

Taste and, if necessary, add salt. Serve hot.

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