Stoccafisso - stockfish or cod - is Norway's oldest export commodity and has been used in foreign trade since the 800s. At the end of April each year a large portion of land in the Norwegian Lofoten Islands is covered in stockfish hanging over wooden poles to be dried by the sun and wind. By this totally natural method the fish gets extremely durable and can be stored for a very long time. The Lofoten Islands, where a state Stockfish Museum is consecreted to that quite uncommon staple item, are world-famous for their top grade stockfish and Italy is the most important market for high-quality stockfish from those remore little islands ! Ancona is in turn one of the biggest stockfish importers in Italy and the succulent Stoccafisso all'Anconetana truly belongs to the history and tradition of that city and is especially cherished by the locals' hearts and tummies ! With a view to promoting traditional local recipes, Ancona's epicures set up the appetizing Club Accademia dello Stoccafisso and there have always been lots of restaurants that serve excellent stockfish in that city, but Gino's, opposite the railway station, is a real must !
Here's the recipe to cook the delicacy at home. Ingredients:
1 kilo superior soaked stockfish (best brands: Ragno or Wreste)
500 g tomatoes
700 g potatoes
1 glass white wine (the local Verdicchio brand would be perfect)
2 cloves garlic
1 stalk celery
30 g anchovies
40 g Pantelleria capers
a handful of freshly chopped parsley and some fresh rosemary
salt and pepper
Cut finely the onion, celery, carrot, garlic, anchovies, capers, add rosemary and parsley. Wash and cut the tomatoes and potatoes in large pieces.
Wash and cut the stockfih into pieces .Pour 4-5 tablespoon oil into a nonstick pot and lay the fish pieces with the skin facing the bottom of the pot. Sprinkle with the herbs and seasoning, adding salt and papper to taste. Alternate layers of stockfish, tomatoes, potatoes, seasoning, olive oil, salt and pepper. Potatoes must be the last layer. Pour a glass of wine and let evaporate in the open pot. Then cover the pot and let simmer on very low heat for about 1 1/2 hours. It is best fixed the day before. Garnish with laurel leaves before serving moderately warm in soup plates.