Friday, December 22, 2017

A Special Meal for Christmas Eve-Feast of the 7 Fishes

It's nearly Christmas, and it's time to get going for the traditional Feast of the Seven Fishes.  PBS-TV host Lidia Bastianich stopped by Tonia's Kitchen to give her take on how to create the best Christmas dinner possible.  She told Tonia that there's a number of creations she whips up.  One of which, is a delicious  Baccala Mantecato (or cod spread) that she makes as an antipasti. Lidia says making a proper Feast of the Seven Fishes doesn't have to be too difficult, but she has some tips to make it the best it can be.  Among them, start a few days before you serve it.  For more on creating the feast, click on this link


  • 1 lb. salt cod
  • 1 medium russet potato
  • 2 clove garlic
  • 1 c. extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ c. light cream
  • ½ c. poaching water from baccala


  1. Soak the salt cod overnight in a large bowl of cold water, changing the water often, to remove the excess salt. Cut the cod into 6-inch pieces and put them in a saucepan with water to cover by 1 inch. Bring the water to a boil and cook the salt cod for about 20 minutes, until it just begins to flake. Do not let the fish break apart. Remove the cod to a colander to drain and cool.
  2. Meanwhile, rinse the russet potato, but leave it whole and unpeeled. Cook the potato in its skin until it is cooked through and easily pierced with a knife. Let it cool, and then peel the skin away with the back side of a knife.
  3. Set up a food processor with steel knife blade. Put in the cooked salt cod and pulse it a few times to break up the fish. Add the minced garlic and pulse a few more times. Add the potato and light cream and turn the food processor on. Puree the mixture while adding the olive oil in a thin stream. If the mixture is too dense, thin it with some of the cod poaching liquid. Season with freshly ground pepper. The baccala is best served warm as a spread for grilled country bread or crostini, or even as a dip for crudités.