Friday, 18 March 2011

GOURMET WORDS FROM THE ITALIAN RIVIERA: STOCCAFISSO ACCOMODATO - stockfish stew


Hearty stoccafisso accommodato, top-class comfort food!

The word stockfish (dried cod) derives from the Dutch stocvisch = stick fish, whereas in Norwegian the meaning is rock fish. After 1492, the intensification of maritime explorations throughout the northern seas and the Lofoten islands brought about a gastronomic (re)discovery of exceptional proportions: in a few years, fishermen sailed by the hundred from Marseille towards Newfoundland. The Genoese – the most mercantile of races… - joined the race (in the age of Counter Reformation, the Council of Trento set precise rules about meat eating and “giorni di magro”). Stockfish was ann immediate blockbuster in Genoa, a huge success due to the quality, organolectic values and versatility. The “ragno” variety ows its name from the deformation of “Ragnar”, the Norwegian firm responsible for the selection of the best pieces. Stockfish is to be bought after it has been properly soaked and softened in water for two weeks (some buy it dry and opt for home processing). According to local food lore, though born in water, it is to… die in oil. “Stoccafisso accomodato” is an ancient recipe, despite the fact that potatoes are a fairly recent innovation, dating back to end of the 18th century (odd as it may seem, strong opposition and diffidence towards the tubers lasted for ages). Cooking takes 1-2 hours, the right time for all the ingredients (go easy with the anchovy fillets, they might add a bitter note to the final result) to blend harmoniously. Polenta is a delightful companion (and the choice of the entroterra areas bordering Piedmont). Stockfish budelline (tripes) are a “nowhere to be found” Ligurian treat. Wine matching: red, DOC Riviera ligure di ponente Rossese (tomato rules!).





Luisa Puppo


Ligucibario

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