My husband's mother, Antoinette Esposito, was fond of this cold codfish salad with cauliflower, which she served during Lent and occasionally on Friday nights. You can find dried salted cod on display in Italian grocery stores and in some Asian markets. Grocery stores also carry salted cod in wooden boxes.
Since the codfish will need to be rehydrated, start the process two days ahead. Remember to change the soaking water frequently or allow sufficient time for tap water to slowly drip on the fish and refresh it completely. This is a wonderful and filling salad for a hot summer day. Serve it with crusty bread.
2 pounds dried salted cod
1 head cauliflower, trimmed and cut into small florets
Water for cooking the cauliflower
2 cups water for cooking the cod
5 tablespoons Filippo Berio Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
Juice of one large lemon
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 cup Sicilian green olives in brine, pitted and coarsely chopped
1/3 cup minced Italian parsley
Place the codfish in the kitchen sink and allow tap water to drip on it for a day to rehydrate it. Or immerse it in a pan of water and change the water several times during the day(s) until the fish is refreshed and plump. During the process, rinse the fish 4 or 5 times under cold water to rid it of the salt.
Fill a 2-quart saucepan with 2 cups of water. Place a steamer basket in the pot and pile the florets in the basket. Cover the pan and bring the water to a boil. Lower the heat, and steam-cook the florets until they are tender but not mushy. This will take about 5 to 6 minutes. Or cook the florets in 2 quarts of boiling water until tender if you do not have a steamer basket. Drain the florets in a colander and transfer them to a large bowl to cool.
Transfer the codfish to a sauté pan, add the 2 cups of water, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, and the lemon juice. Cover the pan and cook the fish over medium-low heat for about 15 minutes, or until it easily flakes when pierced with a fork. Drain the baccala with a slotted spoon and transfer it to the bowl with the florets.
Mix the remaining olive oil with the vinegar, salt, and pepper and pour over the fish and cauliflower mixture. Add the olives and parsley and toss gently. Serve at room temperature.
This recipe is from CIAO ITALIA - BRINGING ITALY HOME by Mary Ann Esposito, published by St. Martin's Press in 2001.
Want More Recipes? See My Latest Book:
Mary Ann returns to her family's humble beginnings to bring us a treasure trove of more than 200 time-honored recipes.
Buy it now from Amazon for just $24.00
A Testimonial From Mario Batali:
This collection epitomizes the tradition and love that goes into all of Mary Ann Esposito's cooking. Like her award-winning TV series, this book will live on for years with all of those who cook her delicious recipes. My kids love everything Mary Ann cooks!"