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poached cod with olives and capers sauce

Diego Maradona used to eat this dish, before demolishing his opponents

ingredients for 4 servings (cost about 4€ pp)
  • 500 g salted cod filets (of very good quality)
  • 1 litre vegetable stock
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 small onion
  • 20 capers
  • 1 medium to large fresh tomato
  • 10 black olives (NOT pre-pitted)
  • EV olive oil
  • fresh basil

“Aulive e chiapparielle” means in the Neapolitan dialect olive and capers and it is the local name of what we know as puttanesca sauce. Today we will prepare a variation of this sauce with fresh tomatoes to add more fragrant components and enrich the fish with a lighter and more humid sauce.

We first have to wash the cod under running water to remove the salt which is found at its exterior part. We cut it in pieces to accelerate desalting. We then put the cod in a large container with plenty of cold water and we leave it there, IN THE FRIDGE, for at least 48 hours, changing the water every 12 hours approximately. I think it is self-evident that the water has to be always very cold.

When the cod is well desalted, we continue our preparation. We must be sure that the fish is not too salty, something not acceptable. I inform you that after this procedure we can keep the cod in the fridge for 2 days, but not more because the water starts to create bacteria.

About two hours before the dish preparation we also soak the capers (and the olives if they are not of a good quality) in cold water to remove the containing salt and conservatives.

In a preheated skillet we add some olive oil and after half a minute the onions, cut in thin slices. We gently fry them, till very tender, adding a little bit of water if required.

We then add the garlic clove, cut in slices, the olives, pitted by us and minced and the capers and after a minute the solid parts of the tomato, cut with the knife in uneven pieces. We raise the heat and we continue cooking for no more than 3 minutes, as we want the raw tomato aromas to be present. We keep aside.

We put the cod pieces in a pot with the stock, brought at a temperature of 80 to 85 C. We put the lid, we turn the heat off and we leave the cod pieces for about 6 minutes. Remember that the cod can be also eaten raw, so don´t exaggerate by overcooking it.

We carefully remove the cod filets and we drain them well. We put them in plates, we pour over them the sauce, we garnish with basil leaves and raw EVO oil and we serve.


Published in FISH