Tuscany: Salt Cod, Chickpeas & Spinach
As you are aware both Italia and Spain are steeped in Roman history and the Shepherds culinary repertoire and still are veered towards profound catholicism, especially the elderly in rural areas and small towns. Thus, Salt cod or Baccalà ( Bacalao in Spanish ) is very popular in Tuscany and in Spain during Lent ... I make this dish with fresh Cod. However, I like the dish, and thus, have since renovated Grandmom Margherite´s to my own preferences ... It is on my regular Saturday lunch cartes when I am home.
1 pound cod ( salt cod or fresh )
1 cup chickpeas ( soaked over night in water with salt )
1 tsp baking soda
8 tblsps olive oil
4 large garlic cloves minced
1 onion chopped finely
1 large bay leaf
4 cups water
10 large sage leaves
6 large garlic cloves minced
freshly ground blk. pepper and white pepper
2 pounds fresh spinach stemmed and rinsed
additional olive oil
1 lemon halved
all purpose flour
1) Place salt cod in bowl and add enough cold water to cover.
Let soak overnight 24 hours. *** change water twice during this 24 hr. period.
2) place chickpeas in a large stock pot, and soak overnight in water and salt
3) drain the salt cod and then cut into 8 chunks and drain the chickpeas.
4) heat 2 tblsps of olive oil in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat
and add the beans, garlic, onion, bay leaf and a pinch of salt
5) pour in 4 cups waters and simmer until chickpeas are tender - 2 hours
6) drain and return the chickpeas to the pot and discard garlic, onion and bay leaf
7) heat 4 tblps of olive oil in heavy small skillet over medium heat and add 5 sage leaves, 3 cloves minced garlic and 2 rosemary swigs and cook for 5 minutes
8) then strain chickpeas and season with salt and blk and white pepper. Keep warm
9) cook spinach in heavy large skillet over medium heat until wilted, tossing often, 3 minutes
10) drain well and return to skillet
11) then, drizzle with olive oil to coat and season with salt and pepper & keep warm
12) heat the remaining olive oil 2 tblsps, and over medium heat, put 5 sage leaves, 3 cloves minced garlic, 2 rosemary swigs, and sauté until the oil is fragranced and garlic golden ... Pat cod dry and dredge in flour, and sauté 3 to 4 minutes per side.
13) Mound the spinach on a large plate in the centre. Top with salt cod, and surround with chick peas, drizzle with olive oil ... squeeze lemon juice over ...
Prepare Bola´s Foccacia recommendation; and have Prosecco white sparkling wine ...