Baccalà di Nonna Gemma (Codfish Recipe)
Baccalà di Nonna Gemma (Codfish Recipe)
Posted on
February 27, 2024
achilleas petris

Codfish, now considered one of the main ingredients in many regional cuisines, has a centuries-old and very curious history. Each territory has its own recipe, often linked to its traditions or products.

The extraordinary variety of cultures that has always characterized Mediterranean cuisine has resulted in different preparations, closely related to local raw materials. This is why today salt Cod is the protagonist of traditional dishes in Italian cuisine from North to South, with specialities that are an expression of the culture of the territory.

Cod is characterized by its firm and elastic flesh, which does not require excessive cooking. In this way, one can best appreciate that typical tendency to flake under the teeth, which is enhanced by its preparation in a stew, for example in a pan with a sauce made from tomatoes, olives and capers.

Baccalà 'alla calabrese' is actually a misnomer, the original recipe is called 'Baccalà alla Trappitara', a dialect term for the person who works in an oil mill, because it was a typical meal eaten during the olive pressing period.

And this is precisely the version we are going to prepare today with Nonna Gemma, a version that is a good 80 years old.

It is a Saturday morning at the end of January, the sky is clear, the light comes in through the window and shines all over the kitchen. Nonna Gemma has just returned with her shopping. She has picked up the cod from the fishmonger and the vegetables from her local market stand. She is ready to prepare our recipe together.


  • • stockfish already sponged 1 lb 
  • • salted capers 2 oz
  • • parsley 1 tuft
  • • salt
  • • extra virgin olive oil
  • • baked black olives 2 oz
  • • potatoes 12 oz
  • • 2 onions
  • • tomato pulp 12 oz
  • •  1 glass of Gratsi Whine Wine

Peel the onions, cut them into very thin slices, brown them in a pan with 5 tablespoons of oil, then add the tomato pulp, salt lightly, add the finely chopped chili and cook for 15 minutes, stirring often.

Rinse the stockfish, dry it by patting it gently with kitchen paper towels and add it to the tomato sauce; douse with wine and continue cooking for 15 minutes.

Wash the potatoes, peel them, cut them into pieces and add them to the stockfish together with the well-desalted capers, the roughly chopped olives and the parsley, cleaned, washed and chopped. Continue cooking for another 20 minutes, adding a small ladle of hot water if necessary, then remove from the heat, adjust the salt and serve.

Enjoy and cheers!

PS: While you're here, why not give a try to our delicious vino?

Explore more recipes.

Words and Photographs by Gianina Rose

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