Merluzzo Stufato (Stewed Cod)
It takes molto pazienza (a lot of patience) to prepare baccalá, a dried, salted cod that is as stiff as a board. Several slow soakings in water eventually transform the cod back into plump white flesh that is the prime ingredient for merluzzo stufato (stewed cod). But here is a shortcut using fresh, not dried, cod.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, peeled and diced
2 ribs celery, diced
2 cups coarsely chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon capers in brine, drained and minced
1 whole bay leaf
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 pounds fresh cod, cut into 1-inch chunks
Fine sea salt to taste
1. Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Stir in the onions and celery, and cook until soft. Stir in the tomatoes, capers, bay leaf and parsley and simmer covered for 3–4 minutes.
2. Add the cod, cover and simmer for about 8 minutes or until the fish easily flakes with a fork and looks opaque. Add salt to taste.
Tip: The stew can also do double duty as a sauce for spaghetti.