Baccalao A Trilogy: Blue Cornmeal Crusted Bacalao Albondigas w Sherry Tomato Confit (Finale)

April 30, 2009

If you have been following the past few entries, you will know that this is the third and final installment of the three part series entitled "Baccalao: A Trilogy". In this riveting chapter of the salted cod's life, we see him as he raises from his ashes of curing salt, like a majestic phoenix into the night.

Parched, he refreshes himself with a long soak in a tub of water, after which he is pounded into Brandade, a Mediterranean delicacy. An emulsion of oils and cream, brandade is a luxurious accompaniment to the humble crostini. After his transformation, the salted cod flees to Napa and fashions himself into a cod cake topped with a quail egg and some avocado.

In the final days of his life, the salted cod felt the stirrings of the Andalucian winds calling him back to nativity. He longed to lay with the comforts of his origins and settle with a Moorish woman. She was a cherry tomato confit, slowly poached in Arbequina olive oil, sherry, and red onions. In other villages, she was also known as a deconstructed tomato frito. Although she was a simple woman of the land, she developed into quite a a sensuous beauty through the long summer days.

The salted cod yearned to make progeny with the woman, and there upon a bed of bucatini, crispy little albondiguitas, little meatballs, were made. It was there that the salted cod fell to rest.

BACCALAO MEATBALLS W SHERRY AND TOMATO CONFIT Serves 2 Total Time 1 Hour (3 days if making the Brandade from scratch)

SUMMARY You will start with the confit becuase it takes the longest. Right before serving you will boil the pasta and fry the meatballs. Very simple.

- 1 c brandade
- 1 quail egg
- 1/2 c blue cornmeal
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- 4 T good olive oil
- 1 T rice vinegar
- 1 T sherry vinegar
- 1 T sherry
- 2-3 t sugar
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 bay leaf or avocado leaf
- 2 servings bucatini - 1/4 t0 1/4 lb
- oil for frying
1. Preheat the oven to 350F. In a oven-proof bowl, mix the cherry tomatoes, olive oil, vinegars, sherry, sugar, onion, and bay leaf. Salt and pepper to taste. Slow roast for 45 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, mix the brandade with the quail egg in a bowl. Roll in blue cornmeal.

After 40 minutes, check the confit to ensure that the cherry tomatoes have popped. Remove the bay leaf and continue to cook.

3. In a large saucepan, heat water to boil for your bucatini. Salt the water generously. When the water comes to a boil, throw in the bucatini.

4. In another wok, heat 1/2 of oil to roughly 350F. Test the oil by throwing in a ball and observing how quickly it crisps. The goal is just get a good crust. Since the brandade is already cooked, there is no added "cooking". Fry the balls for a couple minutes and make sure that the crust crisps up. Get ready...

For fun, I stuffed some mozzarella into one... (Whoever said that seafood and cheese do not mix has clearly NOT tried the mac n cheese with sweet shrimp at Go Fish in St. Helena)

As the balls fry, drain the pasta, take the confit form the oven and toss together. Add the baccalao balls.

WOOOOO!!!! Southern Spanish style spaghetti and meatballs!

Please write comments in memory of our beloved, baccalao, a vibrant soul.


Daniela said...

this looks amazing!! have me over for dinner? :)

Elra said...

I am in serious need of salted cod. Can I use the one I found in a Chinese store?
Look at all of those meal you made from this humble sounding salted cod! Delicious Katie....

Cody Brocious said...

That looks incredibly tasty.

On a sidenote, I ended up on your blog from a random comment you made on You mentioned you had some mindblowing horchata in Belize, and as I'm looking to travel there shortly, I'd love to know where it was you got it, if you happen to remember.

Thanks in advance.

katie said...

Elra. I got the salted cod from an Italian deli in the mission (SF). 22 and valencia "Lucca" Deli.

Cody. Welcome! So, the horchata I was referencing was in St Ignacio near the guatemalan border. Its got an adorable open market with people hacking coconuts. But I think the horchata came form a mexican restaruant. to be honest the food was below ideal, but the horchata was great.

Um... eat lots of fryjacks in beliz, they are to die fore!

Cody Brocious said...

Fantastic, thank you!

I'm going down there to look at the different cities and see how real estate in the different areas is (hoping to move down there in early 2010), and San Ignacio happens to be one of the ones I'm hitting :)

Shari@Whisk: a food blog said...

Now this is inspired. Love it!! The mozzarella oozing out -- sounds delicious!!

megan (brooklyn farmhouse) said...

You are too brilliant. I can't keep up with your brilliantness. I love love love all things salt cod. Salt cod meatballs - you are my hero.

Marc @ NoRecipes said...

Great narrative you've put around this trilogy! These little fishballs look fantastic.

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