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venetian cuisine

typical recipes: baccalà


"Baccalà mantecato" (a way to cook codfish) is one of the most representative recipes in Venetian cuisine, and also "precious": in the splendid halls of Scuola Grande di San Giovanni Evangelista the "Dogale Confraternita del baccalà mantecato" was born, the first gastronomic confraternity based on a single recipe created to enliven this aspect of Venetian culture. The president (whom is called "doge" here, like the governor of the ancient Serenissima Republic) is Alvise Zorzi, writer and member of Unesco, and expert in Venetian history. Zorzi dressed up in white, like an ancient Doge: with a cloak and a hornlike hat. "In ancient times, the last doge to be entirely dressed in white was Andrea Gritti, who died the day before Christmas because he ate an enormous quantity of eels. I hope it won't occur the same to me, with the baccalà I love!" Zorzi joked.
Some of the most renowned restaurants in the Venice district joined the Confraternita: they swear their will commit themselves to defend the traditional recipe: which is not so easy as it seems. "Nowadays, many restaurants do not respect the history of baccalà mantecato, so we decided to found this ironic confraternity." Zorzi said.

A sumptuous dinner was held in Villa Foscarini-Rossi, a 17th century villa of the Brenta Rivera. The new "Confraternita del Baccalà Mantecato" with the young chefs of the most important restaurants of the Brenta Riviera organized an evening party ("Tasting in Brenta Riviera") with a menu completely based on codfish, from the hors-d'oeuvres (in Venetian dialect: "cicchetti") to the dessert. "His Majesty the Codfish" -- so the fish was called in the Menu -- has been transformed into many creative dishes.
Some examples: cream of Asiago cheese with codfish and basil sauce, codfish tripe with two colors "polenta" (corn flour), codfish rissoles, spring codfish in jelly, pea-soup with Red Codfish (with tomato), baked codfish with sweet thyme. For the dessert, special and inventive chocolates with... shrimps!

The recipe - The softened dried cod is cooked in olive oil, parsley and garlic and then creamed in a blender. - NOTICE: We do not want to discourage you, but it will "never" taste the same as in Venice... :)

INGREDIENTS (for 6 people)
stockfish (dampened), 1 kg; fresh parsley, 2 tufts; garlic, 1 clove; olive oil "extravergine"; salt, pepper
Put the stockfish (well dumpened) in a casserole; cover it with cold water, and have the water boil. Unlit the fire. Let it "rest" for 20 minutes. Mince garlic and parsley. Drain the fish, remove its skin, open it and remove the fish-bone carefully. Put the stock-fish in a tureen; using a fork, reduce into small pieces. Pour some olive oil and stir the fish with a spoon, adding oil so that the mix become a white cream. The oil amount depends on the quantity which is absorbed by the fish.
NOTE: You can also use a blender, but it won't taste the same as the traditional recipe.

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