Salt Cod with Tomatoes and Capers
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Traditional Christmas Eve Baccala Courtesy of Mario Batali
  • 2 pounds center-cut skinless boneless salt cod (baccalà), rinsed well
  • 2 tablespoons salt-packed capers
  • 7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole San Marzano tomatoes in juice
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt
  • 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon fresh mint, coarsely chopped
In large bowl, combine cod with water to cover by 2 inches. Cover and refrigerate, changing water at least two times a day.  In small bowl, combine capers with water to cover by 1 inch. Cover and refrigerate 1 day, changing water at least twice a day.  Drain and rinse capers, then squeeze dry. Drain cod and pat dry, then cut into 4- by 2-inch pieces.
In heavy 6- to 8-quart pot over moderate heat, heat 3 tablespoons oil until hot but not smoking. Add onion and sauté until softened and golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Add red pepper flakes, capers, tomatoes and juice, and salt. Using wooden spoon, gently crush tomatoes. Bring to simmer, then carefully add cod. Add parsley and 1/4 cup mint and gently spoon some of sauce over cod. Simmer, uncovered, until cod is tender and heated through, about 5 minutes. Using slotted spatula, transfer cod to serving platter. Remove pot from heat and stir in 3 tablespoons olive oil. Spoon sauce over fish, then sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon mint and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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