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Italian Christmas Eve Seafood Recipes
Baccala with Tomatoes and Potatoes
RECIPES
Fried Eel
Fried Baccala
Fried Calamari
Squid Braised with Tomatoes and Greens
Stewed Fresh Cod
Baccala with Tomatoes and Potatoes
Baccala with Tomatoes and Potatoes
Fried Eel 

(Serves 4)

Ingredients:

1 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 pound eel, skinned and cut into 2-inch pieces
Vegetable oil for deep frying
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Juice of 1 lemon

Directions:

Mix the flour and salt together on a plate. 
Coat the eel pieces in the flour and shake off excess.

Heat the oil to 360 degrees F. in a deep fryer.  Fry the eel until golden brown and crisp.  Transfer to a  paper towel lined plate to drain.

In a small skillet, melt the butter.  Stir in the lemon juice; stir to combine.
Pour the lemon butter over the fried eel. Serve.
Fried Baccala - Baccala Fritto

(Serves 4)

Ingredients:

2 pounds
1 cup flour
1 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
1 egg, beaten with a little water
Vegetable oil for deep frying
Lemon wedges

Directions:

Soak baccala in water for 2 days changing water 2-3 times a day.

Cut the baccala into 2-inch pieces  Combine the flour and breadcrumbs. 
Dip each piece in the egg and then into the breadcrumb mixture.
Pour enough oil into a heavy large saucepan to reach the depth of 3 inches
Heat the oil to 360 degrees F.  Gently drop the fillets in the oil and cook until golden brown and crisp, 2-3 minutes.  Transfer to a paper towel lined plate to drain.  Serve with lemon wedges.
Fried Calamari 

(Serves 2 as an entrée)

Ingredients:

Vegetable oil for deep frying
1 pound cleaned calamari 1 cup flour
1 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon  Kosher salt

Traditional Tomato Sauce with added red pepper flakes
Lemon wedges

Directions:

Pour enough oil into a heavy large saucepan to reach the depth of 3 inches
Heat the oil to 360 degrees F.

Cut the tentacles from the calamari bodies.  Cut the tubes into 1/2-inch  rings
Combine flour and breadcrumbs; coat calamari with the flour mixture.
Add the calamari to the hot oil in small batches.  Fry for 1 minute until golden brown and crisp.   Transfer to a paper towel lined plate to drain.  Sprinkle with salt.   Serve with tomato sauce and lemon wedges.
Squid Braised with Tomatoes and Greens

(Serves 6)

Ingredients:

1 cup olive oil, divided
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 carrot finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
Red pepper flakes to taste
1-1/2 pounds cleaned squid, cut into rings and bite-size pieces
3/4 cup white wine
1-1/2 cups caned crushed tomatoes
1 pound Swiss chard, chopped
1 pound spinach, chopped
Salt and pepper

Directions:

Heat 1/2 cup oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onion, celery, carrot, half the garlic, parsley, and red pepper flakes.  Saute the mixture for 10 minutes.  Add the squid and cook for another 10 minutes.
Add the wine and tomatoes.  Cook uncovered for 30 minutes, adding water if the mixture gets too dry.

In a large skillet, heat the remaining oil and garlic.  Add the Swiss chard and spinach, in batches.  Cook until the greens are tender, about 10 minutes.
Add the greens to the calamari in the saucepan.  Cover and cook for 15 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve in soup bowls.
Stewed Fresh Cod

(Serves 4)

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 cups coarsely chopped plum tomatoes
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 pounds fresh cod, cut into chunks
Salt to taste

Directions:

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion and celery and cook until soft about 10 minutes.  Stir in tomatoes, capers, bay leaf, and parsley.  Simmer, covered, 3-4 minutes.

Add the cod, cover, and cook over low heat 6-8 minutes.  Add salt to taste.
This can also be served as a sauce over linguine.
Baccala with Tomatoes and Potatoes 

(Serves 6)

Ingredients:

1-1/2 pounds baccala, without bones
6 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced  lengthwise 1/4-inch thick
Flour seasoned with salt and pepper
Oil for frying
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1 (28 ounce) can crushed or pureed tomatoes
2 bay leaves
1 cup small black olives, pitted and chopped
Salt and pepper
Pinch of red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Directions:

Cut the baccala into 3-inch wide pieces.  Rinse the fish and place in a large bowl.  Cover the fish with cold water and place in the refrigerator to soak for 3 days.  Change the water every day.  This is done to remove as much salt as possible.

Drain the baccala and pat dry.  Lightly coat each piece in the seasoned flour.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Fry the baccala for about 2 minutes per side.  Remove and set aside.  The fish will finish cooking later in the tomato sauce.

In a large saucepan, boil the potatoes 5-7 minutes,
They will be cooked further in the tomato sauce, so don't overcook them now.
Drain and set aside.

In a large, wide saucepan, heat the olive oil.  Saute the garlic and onions until soft, about  2 minutes.  Add basil and saute another minute.  Add the crushed tomatoes, potatoes, and bay leaves.  Add the baccala. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce to a simmer.

Cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, being careful not to break up the baccala.  If the sauce gets too dry, add a little water to thin it.  During the last 5 minutes of cooking, add the olives.  Season with salt and pepper and red pepper flakes.  Transfer to a serving dish and top with chopped parsley.
Serve warm with crusty Italian bread.
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HOLIDAYS  >  ITALIAN CHRISTMASITALIAN CHRISTMAS EVE  >  SEAFOOD RECIPES
BACCALA
Baccala is a traditional Christmas Eve favorite in Italy; it's great as a appetizer, salad, or main course,  Baccala is actually salt-cured cod.  It comes mostly from the coast of Labrador and Newfoundland, where it's fished, salted, and exported all over the world.  Once so abundant, it saved millions from famine; today cod is more scarce but as popular as ever.  It is appreciated for its versatility and as a souce of proteins, minerals, unsaturated fats, and omega 3.  The Campania region, which includes the city of Naples, boasts the highest consumption of baccala in Italy.  Legend has it that there are 365 different ways to eat baccala in Naples.  Baccala needs to be soaked in clean fresh water for 48 to 72 hours, changing the water several times, before it can be eaten.
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