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Venetian Codfish

  • servings: 6




  • 8 to 10 ounces dried cod
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 small onion, halved
  • 1 celery stalk, halved
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 head radicchio di Chioggia, cut into thin ribbons
  • Balsamic vinegar, for drizzling
  • 1/2 head Boston lettuce, cut into thin ribbons
  • 12 slices Polenta for Venetian Codfish, grilled or sauteed


  1. Step 1

    In a large bowl filled with cold water, soak cod for 4 days, changing the water twice per day. Remove cod from water. Pull off any skin, and discard. Using kitchen pliers or tweezers, remove any bones from the spine.

  2. Step 2

    In a large saucepan, combine milk and 6 cups water. Add onion, celery, and garlic; season with salt. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat, and transfer cod to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.

  3. Step 3

    Add just enough of the cooking liquid to moisten the fish, 1/4 to 1/2 cup. Be sure not to add the garlic clove. Beat cod on low speed. When it breaks into small pieces, increase the speed, and begin adding olive oil in a thin, steady stream. The quantity of oil used depends on the quality and fat content of the cod; stop adding oil when the mixture is very creamy and emulsified. Stir in parsley, and season with salt and pepper.

  4. Step 4

    Using an oval ice cream scoop, neatly place 3 mounds of the cod mixture on each of 6 plates. Garnish with a handful of radicchio and Boston lettuce. Drizzle with oil and vinegar. Serve with polenta on the side.

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