Grilled Polenta with Dried Cod Mousse (Baccalà Mantecato)

This creamy codfish mousse is delicious served with char-grilled squares of polenta. This recipe first appeared in our March 2012 issue, with Dana Bowen’s story Good and Plenty.

Find this recipe in our cookbook, SAVEUR: Italian Comfort Food

Grilled Polenta with Dried Cod Mousse (Baccalà Mantecato) Grilled Polenta with Dried Cod Mousse (Baccalà Mantecato)
This creamy codfish mousse is delicious served with char-grilled squares of polenta.

Ingredients

  • 10 oz. dried salt cod
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1 medium yellow onion, halved
  • 1 rib celery, halved
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 12 cup olive oil, plus more
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 13 cups quick-cooking polenta
  • 24 small leaves radicchio
  • 2 tbsp. finely chopped parsley

Instructions

  1. Place cod in a 2-qt. saucepan, and cover by 2″ with cold water; boil for 20 minutes. Drain cod, return to saucepan, and repeat process twice more. Transfer cod to a 6-qt. saucepan and add milk, onion, celery, garlic, and 10 cups water; boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook until cod is tender, about 20 minutes. Drain cod, reserving 14 cup cooking liquid; discard vegetables and skin and bones from cod. Process cod and cooking liquid in a food processor until smooth. While processor is running, drizzle in 12 cup oil; continue mixing until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and season with salt and pepper; chill cod mousse.
  2. Meanwhile, bring 4 cups salted water to a boil in a 4-qt. saucepan over high heat; while whisking, add polenta, and cook, stirring, until thick, 3-5 minutes. Transfer to a greased 12″ x 9″ rimmed baking sheet; smooth top and chill until set. Heat a cast-iron grill pan over high heat. Cut polenta into eighteen 2″ x 3″ rectangles; brush with more oil. Working in batches, grill polenta, turning once, until slightly charred, about 4 minutes. Top each rectangle with radicchio and a dollop of cod mousse; sprinkle with parsley.