Baccalà Mantecato

Salt cod, also known as bacalao (Spanish), bacalhau (Portuguese) or baccalà (Italian), is spread throughout the Mediterranean and used in a variety of ways. A very distinct way of preparation is this Venetian dish for which the cod is processed – traditionally in a mortar – with olive oil and served on a piece of toasted polenta. It comes out fluffy and light and makes an excellent starter / tapas or main.




  • 400 grams of salt cod
  • 200 gram of polenta (instant)
  • sea salt
  • 750 ml of milk
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 175 ml of extra virgin olive oil
  • freshly ground white pepper, fleur de sea
  • some olive oil (for cooking)
  • For decoration: 1-2 teaspoons of finely chopped parsley


Soaking the salt cod:

  1. 2 days before cooking, rinse & soak the salt cod in plenty of cold fresh water. Cover and keep in the fridge.
  2. Replace the water every 8 to 10 hours.
  3. At the end of the soaking time, cut off a small corner and boil in water for a few minutes to test whether it is still too salty. When the cod is fine, prepare in accordance with the next steps.

Preparing the polenta (step 1):

  1. Cook the polenta with 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt in accordance with the instructions on the package. It is recommended to use instant polenta.
  2. Spread the hot polenta on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  3. Place another sheet of parchment paper and another baking sheet on top. Weigh down with a heavy saucepan or saucepot. Let cool down completely.

Preparing the salt cod:

  1. Boil the fish with the bay leaf and peppercorns in the milk. Let simmer for approximately 10 minutes.
  2. Take off the heat, cover and let rest for another 10 minutes.
  3. Remove the fish from the milk, pluck off the meat and remove the skin and bones.
  4. Place the meat in a food processor. Add 5 to 6 tablespoons of the milk. Pulse until it turns into a paste.
  5. On low speed, very slowly add the olive oil. When all of the oil is added, the baccalà should be very creamy and fluffy.
  6. Season to taste with fleur de sel and white pepper. Let cool down completely (but do not refrigerate if you intend to serve it immediately – if refrigerated, remove from the fridge approximately 30 minutes before serving).

Preparing the polenta (step 2):

  1. Cut the polenta into rectangles and toast on both side in a pan in some olive oil. Place on / pat with a kitchen towel to remove excess oil.


  1. Scoop a ball of baccalà onto each individual plate (can be done with two tablespoons).
  2. Place one or two pieces of hot polenta on each dish.
  3. Serve sprinkled with fresh parsley.


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