Salt Cod with Tomato Sauce

  • Active Time 25m
  • Total Time 25m

Serves 4

Salt cod cooked in tomato sauce is a culinary classic. This recipe is based on one in Giuseppe Maffioli's La cucina padovana. Similar dishes are prepared in Rome, where chopped black olives or pine nuts and raisins are often added. In most old Italian Jewish recipes, the salt cod is simmered in the tomato sauce for three hours. A recipe sent to me from Tullia Zevi, a leader in the Roman Jewish community, recommends three hours as well, and she adds cut-up potatoes during the last hour. I don't know about the salt cod found in Rome, but after a few days of soaking the salt cod I buy in San Francisco, it is perfectly tender within about fifteen minutes of being placed over the heat. Serve with polenta or potatoes.


  • 1 1/2 pounds salt cod fillet
  • All-purpose flour for coating
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Olive oil, as needed
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 4 olive oil-packed anchovy fillets, drained and chopped
  • 4 cups Tomato Sauce
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Grated zest of 1 or 2 lemons


Soak the salt cod in water for 2 days, changing the water at least 3 times. Drain the salt cod and break it into 2-inch pieces, removing any errant bones or discolored or tough parts.

Spread the flour on a plate and season with salt and pepper. Dip the cod pieces in the seasoned flour, coating evenly.

Pour the olive oil to a depth of 1 1/2 inches in a large, deep frying pan and place over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, in batches, fry the salt cod pieces, turning once, until golden on both sides, 4-5 minutes total. Drain on paper towels and set aside.

In another pan, sauté a battuto of onions and garlic over medium-high heat in 2 tablespoons olive oil until soft and pale gold, about 8 minutes. Add the white wine and let it bubble up. Then add the anchovies, the tomato sauce, and the cod and simmer until the cod is almost completely cooked and tender, about 15 minutes. Add the parsley and lemon zest and simmer for 5 minutes longer to blend the flavors. Transfer to a warmed serving platter and serve hot.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Chronicle. All rights reserved.

RecID 3311

nutrition information per serving

314 calories; 4g total fat; 77mg cholesterol; 1728mg sodium; 26g carbohydrates; 5g fiber; 36g protein

These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.

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