Did you know that cod used to be a very highly prized, valuable trading commodity? Wars and battles were won on salt cod because, of course, in the old days ships were sailing for weeks or months and the sailors would have a very unhealthy diet. Having salt cod on board as a source of protein kept them going, and it meant they could jump off the boat with enough energy for a bit of fighting when it was required! All kinds of cultures began to salt fish – I suppose Iberian and Nordic countries are particularly well known for still doing it today. And certainly the Italians are more than partial to their fair share of it. Hundreds of years ago the only way to get fish into the centre of Italy would have been to use preserved fish like salt cod. It might sound obvious, but this is why Tuscan cooking is predominantly meat- and bean-based. In the old days the only common fish recipes would have used either preserved or fresh lake fish. Unless you live in a country where it's prevalent, like Portugal or Spain, salt cod can only be bought in good delis. Try to hunt out the real baccalà, but if you can't find any then simply buy some fresh fish which can be salted overnight. As salt cod is preserved using copious amounts of salt, avoid seasoning this soup at all or do it right at the very end.
Nutritional Information - Amount per serving:
- Calories 162kcal
- Carbs 10.7g
- Sugar 8.1g
- Fat 6.6g
- Saturates 1.0g
- Protein 13.7g
This recipe is adapted from:
BUYING SUSTAINABLY SOURCED FISH
Buying sustainably sourced fish means buying fish that has been caught without endangering the levels of fish stocks and with the protection of the environment in mind. Wild fish caught in areas where stocks are plentiful are sustainably sourced, as are farmed fish that are reared on farms proven to cause no harm to surrounding seas and shores.
When buying either wild or farmed fish, ask whether it is sustainably sourced. If you're unable to obtain this information, don't be afraid to shop elsewhere – only by shopping sustainably can we be sure that the fantastic selection of fish we enjoy today will be around for future generations.
For further information about sustainably sourced fish, please refer to the useful links below:
Marine Stewardship Council