Dishes fromImma Tataranni’s Kitchen


Salted Cod with Crunchy Red Peppers

Written by Linda SarrisPhotos by Luisa Misseri

New episodes in 2021!
EDITOR'S NOTE: When we reached out to Chef Linda Sarris about a recipe series based on Matera's own Deputy Prosecutor Imma Tataranni, she immediately said, "Yes! And would you believe I just returned from a trip to Matera in Basilicata?" We think you'll agree, Linda's first-hand knowledge of the food, people and culture of Matera deliciously inform these Imma Tataranni inspired recipes!

Baccalà con peperoni cruschi

Salted Cod with Crunchy Red Peppers

Pair this recipe with:

A short scene from Imma Tataranni Season 1 Ep. 3 as the family prepares Grandma Tataranni’s recipe for Codfish and Red Peppers. Now streaming on MHz Choice.

WATCH IMMA TATARANNI

Baccalà con peperoni cruschi is a roasted salt cod dish served with sweet red peppers, parsley and olive oil. Imma Tataranni’s family always has food on their minds, especially when it comes to her daughter Valentina’s obsession with recipe testing and creating instructional clips with her grandmother for her Casa Tataranni online video channel. Although she isn’t the best chef after all, and many of the experiments end up failing, she cooks with her heart — and that is what’s actually important. One of the dishes Valentina and her father Pietro prepare as a treat for Imma is Nonna Tataranni’s baccalà con peperoni cruschi, a traditional dish made here in Basilicata.    

Baccalà is used for typical winter dishes served at Christmastime in Italy. The salted cod fish is dried for preservation but then needs to be soaked for several days before it becomes edible. Peperoni cruschi are dried sweet red peppers typical in the region of Basilicata, where the Imma Tataranni mystery series takes place. They are served fried as chip snacks or used in cooking. Here we will be steeping them in warm water before using them in a roasted salt cod dish. Once the fish is prepped, this dish is quite simple. 

Baccalà con peperoni cruschi

Notes from the Chef:

The most important step for preparing baccalà is taking the time to soak it to remove the extra salt. Start by soaking the cod in cold water for at least 8 hours in the refrigerator. After this step, change the water and soak again with fresh water for another 8 hours. Some people recommend doing it at least three times and this process can take a day or two to make sure you get the cod to the right stage before it becomes edible as a main course. Be careful when seasoning this dish with additional sea salt, it might only need a pinch here or there. 

Peperoni cruschi might be hard to find but you can order them online through Eataly. A sweet roasted red pepper or even sun-dried tomatoes could be used as a substitute if you can’t get your hands on the real thing.


Baccalà Ingredients:
1.5 lb. baccalà, soaked and rinsed to remove salt
6 peperoni cruschi (about 2 ounces), seeds removed
extra virgin olive oil

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4 sprigs of fresh parsley
black pepper
sea salt


Process:
The dried salted cod used in this dish must be soaked in water to remove the additional salt before it is steamed and then roasted. Follow the instructions in the Chef’s notes above. 

Pre-heat the oven to 200°C/400°F. Place the pieces of baccalà in a baking paper-lined deep roasting pan. Pour about one cup of boiling water into the pan and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Place the pan in the oven to steam for about 10-minutes then remove and drain off the water and discard. 

In the meantime, remove the seeds from the peppers and chop into bite-sized pieces. Steep the peppers in warm water to rehydrate and soften them. Nestle the pieces of baccalà back into the baking pan and top with the peppers, parsley, a sprinkle of sea salt, black pepper and a heavy-handed drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Return the pan to the oven uncovered and roast for another 12 minutes until the top browns a bit and the fish is cooked all the way through.


On the Table in Basilicata: Dishes from Imma Tataranni’s Kitchen Recipes



About the Chef
Linda Sarris is a food/wine travel consultant and private chef based in Palermo, Sicily. From her sun-lit kitchen studio above the 1,000 year-old Ballarò food market, Linda works as a freelance writer, social media manager, and culinary communications consultant while still traveling regularly for private chef work with clients in the fashion and music industries. Under her brand, @thecheekychef, she is self-publishing a Sicilian food and wine ‘zine and curates a series of Mediterranean culinary/lifestyle retreats and travel experiences. Her first book will be published in 2022 with Hachette Book Group. www.lindasarris.com