Home Italy Revisited Bookshelf Plays About Mary Melfi Contact Us
X Italian Fish and Sea Food Dishes
Baccala arracanato Molisani
Baccala Arracanato Molisana /"Embroidered" salt cod (baked with potatoes and tomatoes, flavored with breadcrumbs and raisins)
Originated from: Molise, Italy
Occasion: Christmas Eve
Contributed by: Maria Rosa (Source: La cucina regionale Italiana del 2008; Wikpedia notes)

Printer Friendly Version


Main ingredients
2 pounds dried salt cod, soaked in water
6 medium potatoes, peeled & sliced
4 tomatoes, skinned, de-seeded, cut into chunks and drained

For seasoning
1 cup breadcrumbs
3 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
3 tablespoons raisins
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

about 3 tablespoons of olive oil for greasing a large baking pan and drizzling


Soak the dried salt cod in water, removing all the salt (This can take anywhere from 6 hours to 36 hours depending on the thickness of the fish, it's best to follow package directions).

Drain the cod. Remove excess water. Remove bones. Cut into medium-sized pieces.

In a separate bowl mix breadcrumbs, chopped garlic, pepper, oregano, raisins and about 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Reserve.

Meanwhile grease a baking pan with about 2 tablespoons olive oil.

Add the salt cod (which has been soaked and ready for use) in the greased pan.

Place the bread mixture on the cod, spreading it out evenly.

Skin the tomatoes and remove the seeds; cut into chunks that are pleasing to the eye (The tomatoes are used to decorate the dish, rather than to flavor it.).

Place the chunks of tomatoes in a colander and let them drain of their liquid for about half an hour.

Place the chunks of tomatoes on top of the cod so that they make a decorative pattern.

Peel the potatoes and then slice them nicely.

Arrange the potatoes around the fish.

Drizzle about 1 tablespoon of olive oil on the cod and potatoes.

Cover the baking dish with a lid (or aluminium foil) and bake in a hot oven at 375 F. degrees oven for about 30 minutes.

Uncover the pan, and cook until the breadcrumbs are a nice golden color as are the potatoes -- about 5 to 8 minutes.


In the 1930s this dish was known in Molise as "embroidered cod" possibly because it was pretty to look like, and had the appearance of an embroidered hankie. The dish was known in the countryside as "Baccala Rachentate" (sometimes spelled "Baccala Racanto" or "Baccala Ricamato") but nowadays some cookbook writers call it, "Baccala Arracanato Molisani." In the 1930s the dish was only made for Christmas Eve, and at no other time. This has changed over the years. Photo and comments: Mary Melfi.

Back to main list