What relates the Italian region of Veneto to Norway? Dried cod. It is fished in the seas of Northern Europe and, both as salted cod and dried (stockfish), it has entered the culinary tradition of Veneto since the time of the Maritime Republic when, in 1432, the Venetian merchant Pietro Querini shipwrecked in Northern Europe. He was saved by the inhabitants of the island of Rost, in Lofoten archipelago, where he met stockfish and brought it in Venice.
This commercial and gastronomic connection will be celebrated on September 15th, with a gala evening, and on two weekends, from September 18th to 20th and from 24th to 28th respectively at Sandrigo (small town in the province of Vicenza) with the ‘Festival of Cod’, during which Italian-Norwegian days take place, with a delegation of fishermen, traders, and simple inhabitants of the island of Rost, who observe how this fish of their seas become the flagship course of an entire Italian province.
In the province of Vicenza stockfish is cooked with milk, according to a recipe that historical researches carried out by ‘Brotherhood of Vicenza-style dried cod’ allow dating back at least to 1800. In order to promote the codified version of ‘Vicenza-style dried cod’, a network of places where this course is inserted into the menu was constituted. The list is available at this link: http://baccalaallavicentina.it/i-ristoranti/. In addition, this course is recognized among the five foods of Italian tradition in EuroFIR chain.
Via Querinissima- The Path And in October 2014, Veneto Region applied to Brussels so that the path of Querini (via Querinissima) may be included among the European Cultural Routes. Besides Veneto, stockfish entered the gastronomic tradition of all the Italian coastal lands. Going down along the Adriatic Sea, we find it in Marche (Ancona-style dried cod), Puglia, Calabria, and Sicily. Then, going up along the Tyrrhenian Sea, it is present in Campania, Latium (related to the significant Jewish presence), Tuscany (Livorno-style dried cod), and Liguria. In Europe it spread in Iceland, Spain, Portugal, France, but from Norway the less noble parts (e.g. its heads) are exported to Africa, where they are used for preparing soups.
For more info concerning ‘Festival of Cod’:
Pro Loco Sandrigo | Phone 0444 658148 | Email email@example.com www.baccalaallavicentina.it
Vicenza-style dried cod - Ingredients for 12 people:
1 kg dried stockfish , g 250 onion , ½ litre fruity olive oil, 3-4 salted sardines, ½ litre fresh milk, a little flour, g 50 grated Grana cheese, a tuft parsley, salt and pepper
Preparation: Only experience defines the exact cooking of dried cod, which, from a fish to another one, can differ as for consistency
Soak the dried cod, already well beaten, in cold water. Change water every 4 hours, for 2-3 days. Remove a part of its skin. Open the fish lengthwise, remove its bone and all fish-bones. Cut it into square pieces, if possible equal. Finely slice the onions; fry them in a pan with a glass of olive oil, add desalted and boned anchovies and cut into small pieces; finally, after removing the fish from fire, add the chopped parsley.
Flour the pieces of cod, sprinkle them with the browned mixture, then place them side by side, in an earthenware or aluminium pan, or in a heat-resistant dish (on whose bottom a few spoonfuls of fried mixture has already been poured); cover the fish with the rest of the mixture, add milk, Grana cheese, salt and pepper. Add oil to cover all the pieces, levelling them. Cook over very low heat for 4 hours and a half, moving the pan from time to time without stirring.
The term used in Vicenza for this cooking stage is ‘pipare’. Serve it hot with polenta slices. Vicenza-style dried cod is excellent even after a rest period of 12-14 hours.