How to make Italian Baccala - Authentic Italian Recipe (2024)

Published: · Modified: by Chef Dennis Littley

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How to make ItalianBaccala.

Guest Post: My name is Mireille and I live in New York, where I have been lucky to be able to experiment with the cultural foods of many countries.

My family background is as diverse as my city, with relatives spanning the globe from Haiti to Indonesia. I currently work freelance as a food writer and personal chef and use my blog to present authentic and fusion recipes from around the world. Lots of Indian, Caribbean and so many other cuisines are represented at Chef Mireille’s Global Creations (this blog no longer exists).

How to make Italian Baccala - Authentic Italian Recipe (1)

NY has one of the largest Italian communities, outside of Italy. Just about every other person you meet is at least ½ Italian. Most Italians are Catholic.

As a result, Christmas is one of the most important holidays to them and one of their traditions involves eating 7 different seafood dishes on Christmas Eve. Many of the dishes will differ from family to family, however, one dish is always included – Baccala.

How to make Italian Baccala - Authentic Italian Recipe (2)

Also known as Bacalao in other countries like Spain and Portugal, salted cod is popular in many countries. Usually originating as peasant food, it becomes part of the national culinary landscape in these countries.

Why not make this classic a tradition in your home this year? Italian Baccala can bring a taste of Italy to your dinner table.

How to make Italian Baccala - Authentic Italian Recipe (3)

If you are a seafood fanatic like I am, you may want to try this delicious tradition for your next Christmas meal. Who says you have to be Italian? Here are some ideas to complete the Feast of the Seven Fishes:

  • Clams Casino
  • Quick and Easy Steamed Mussels
  • Clams and Spaghetti
  • New Zealand Mussels served 5 ways

Did you make this? Please RATE THE RECIPE below!


Italian Baccala

Italian Baccala is a classic and in this guest post you’ll learn her family secrets to prepare this dish in your own home for the holidays.

Prep Time1 day d

Cook Time30 minutes mins

Total Time4 hours hrs 30 minutes mins

Course: Entree

Cuisine: Italian

Servings: 4

Calories: 319kcal

Author: Chef Dennis Littley


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ onion chopped
  • 1 clove garlic finely chopped
  • 12 oz . dried salted cod boned
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 1 ⅓ cup tomatoes chopped
  • ¼ cup parsley finely chopped, plus extra for garnish
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • juice of ½ lemon

US CustomaryMetric


  • Soak fish in water for 24 hours. Drain and put fresh water to cover. You can repeat this process if the cod is still too salty.

  • Boil until fish is tender, about 20 minutes. Drain. Once it is cool enough to handle, flake by hand.

  • In a large skillet, heat oil. Add onion and garlic and saute for a few minutes, until onions are translucent. Add tomatoes and wine and cook on medium-high heat for about 3-4 minutes, until alcohol has been cooked out.

  • Add fish and parsley. Toss and cook for 1-2 minutes.

  • Add pepper and lemon juice and toss to combine.

  • Serve, garnished with more parsley, with crusty Italian bread or roasted potatoes.


Calories: 319kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 54g | Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 129mg | Sodium: 5987mg | Potassium: 1419mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 925IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 152mg | Iron: 2.6mg

Tried this Recipe? Pin it for Later!Mention @askChefDennis or tag #askChefDennis!

How to make Italian Baccala - Authentic Italian Recipe (5)

About Chef Dennis

Chef Dennis Littley is a classically trained chef with over 40 years of experience working in the food service industry. In his second career as a food blogger he has made it his mission to demistify cooking by sharing his time-tested recipes, knowledge, and chef tips to help you create easy-to-make restaurant-quality meals in your home kitchen. Let Chef Dennis help you bring the joy of cooking into your home.For more details, check out his About page.

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  1. Maria Gravinese

    Nick, When you soak the baccala in the water, you need to change the water ever day I soak and change the water for 4 days, and it’s salt free. Hope this will help.


  2. Mary

    What do you mean by “flake the fish.” I have not heard of that term “flake” in regard to fish.


    • Chef Dennis Littley

      When the fish cooks you will see that the fish will start to “split” into flakes or layers. Instead of just cutting or using your hands to pull the fish apart, use a fork and and try to split the sections, flaking the fish.


  3. Tammy

    Can you make this recipe with roasted red peppers instead of tomatoes and still taste great? I am not a big fan of cooked tomatoes unless it is in homemade spaghetti sauce. Thank you.


    • Chef Dennis Littley

      absolutely, I think the peppers will add more flavor.


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