[...] For centuries, cod was caught, cleaned, and dried primarily in Scandinavia before distribution across Europe. If the cod is salted and then air-dried, it’s called salted cod, baccala in Italy. If the cod is hung and air-dried, it is called stock fish, stoccafisso in Italy. (In Italy, all stoccafisso is cod but that’s not necessarily the case elsewhere.) Before either form of cod can be prepared, each must be re-hydrated and, if necessary, rinsed free of salt. To do so, place the cod in a flat baking dish, deep enough to hold enough water to completely submerge the entire fish. Keep the cod in the water for at least 12 hours but no more than 2 days. Replace the water 3 timesdaily. You can speed up the process a bit by letting a slow, steady stream of water flow into the dish but not on to the cod or you might damage the fillet. You’ll know the fish is ready by the way it looks, feels, and smells.
- Once the cod is ready, remove it from the water and place it on (paper) towels while you make the marinade. You do not want to allow the cod to completely dry out but do remove the surface moisture.
- In a small mixing bowl, add about 1/3 cup Panko bread crumbs; 3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley; 1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary; 1 or 2 cloves of garlic (grated or diced); 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil; and pepper to taste. (Salt should not be needed and ingredient amounts may vary depending upon the size of the fillet.)
- Return the cod to the now-dry baking dish and cover with the marinade, coating it evenly on all sides. This is not a “true” breading, so, there’s no need to completely cover the fish. Use plastic wrap to cover the dish and set aside for a couple of hours. It may be necessary to refrigerate the cod, depending upon your kitchen’s temperature.
- Pre-heat the grill when you’re ready to cook your cod. Clean the grilling basket and oil it liberally just prior to placing the cod in its center. Once secured, lay the basket on the grill and sprinkle a bit of olive oil over the fillet’s top side and close the grill’s lid. Lower the heat to med-high. Depending upon your grill’s temperature, how the basket rests on the grill plates, and the thickness of the fillet(s), baccala will take from 8 to 11 minutes per side. Be sure to check it midway through the cooking of each side and be prepared to adjust cooking times, as required. Once you’ve flipped the basket over, sprinkle the fish’s “new” top side with the juice of a half-lemon. Continue grilling until done.
When cooked properly, cod will easily flake. Keep this is mind as you carefully remove the cod from the grilling basket. Place on a serving platter and serve immediately with lemon wedges