Baccala is dry-cured cod, long popular in Scandinavian, Canadian and Mediterranean cuisine. If salt cod is still flexible when you buy it, wrap it in a damp towel and refrigerate for up to 3 weeks. If it's fully dehydrated and stiff, wrap it in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.
Before you can use salt cod, it must be reconstituted. Rinse the cod well and then immerse it in a container of cold water (cut into chunks, if necessary, to fit). Refrigerate, changing the soaking water 2 or 3 times, until softened (12 to 24 hours, depending on how stiff it was when purchased).
Drain the cod and place it in a large pan; pour in cold water to cover. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover, and simmer until fish is opaque and plumped and falls into heaby flakes when prodded (about 20 minutes). Drain and pat dry. Remove bones and skin, if necessary. Use in recipes or if made ahead, cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. The robust flavors of Mediterranean cuisine are a perfect match for salt cod.
Baccala a la Romano
1 1/2 pounds baccala
1 quart chicken stock, recipe follows
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup milk
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 bunch Italian parsley, finely chopped to yield 1/4 cup
Soak the baccala in the refrigerator for 2 days in several changes of water. Rinse and pat dry.
Bring the chicken stock to a boil, reduce to a simmer and add the baccala. Cook 20 minutes at a simmer. Remove the fish, add the garlic, olive oil, milk and salt and pepper to taste, stir well to combine and cook 5 minutes. Return the fish to the pot, cook for 5 minutes, then serve sprinkled with chopped parsley.