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Baccalà Mantecato

Cod Mousse Antipasto

This recipe dates to the 1400s when dried Norwegian cod became a common import in Venice. While baccalà in other parts of Italy refers to salt-preserved cod, in Venice this term describes cod that is air-dried (also called stockfish). Both need to be soaked for two or more days, with frequent water changes, before commencing this recipe. Fortunately, stoccafisso and baccalà may often be bought pre-soaked. Purists will whip the cod and oil together with a wooden spoon and will prepare their own polenta; others may prefer to use a mixer or an immersion blender (although the texture will be different) and purchase tubes of cooked polenta from the supermarket. The mousse may also be served on crostini.


  • Air-Dried Cod (stoccafisso or stockfish) 500 g, pre-soaked
  • Bay Leaf 1
  • Garlic 1-2 cloves, peeled
  • Olive Oil 1/2 cup
  • Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste
  • Crostini or Grilled Polenta to serve
  • Chopped Parsley to garnish

Cook It

  1. Cover pre-soaked cod with fresh cold water. Add the bay leaf and 1 garlic clove and bring to a boil.
  2. Cook the fish until tender (test with a fork), about 20 minutes.
  3. Drain the fish; discard the bay leaf and garlic. Allow to cool slightly.
  4. Remove any skin and bones. Break the fish into small pieces in a mixer bowl. Add another clove of minced garlic, if you like.
  5. Beat the fish with a mixer, gradually adding the olive oil in a slow drizzle, until the mixture is creamy. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Spread over crostini or grilled rectangles of polenta. Garnish with chopped parsley, if desired.