Food /
Italian Recipes

Whipped Salt Cod

Baccalà Mantecato

I ate something like these at Alla Vedova, a cicchetteria in front of ca d’Oro vaporetto stop. They were just fantastic. Everyone was having them with a glass of prosecco or vino before dinner. If you then carry on, as I did, with all the other cicchetti & more wine – you can call it a day & not need dinner.  

These meatballs can be cooked in a frying pan or deep fryer – where they will keep their shape better, but it doesn’t really matter at all.

If you like, you can make smaller ones. I like them large because they fit in a frying pan in one batch & aren’t hard to turn.

You can also make these with part-boiled, mashed or finely chopped beef & some minced pork, so if you have some leftover boiled meats use them. This recipe makes simple, plain polpette, you could always spice them up a bit with some chilli or any other herbs.

(Makes 12-14)


  • 1 large garlic clove, peeled & squashed to pulp
  • 125 ml olive oil (4 fl oz/ 1/2 cup) 
  • 500/600 g (1 lb 4 oz) baccala (salt cod), soaked
  • some small bread slices
  • butter, for frying



  1. Put the garlic clove into the olive oil to flavour it for a while.
  2. Drain the baccala, put it into a large saucepan & cover with water. Bring to the boil, then simmer, skimming for about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat & set aside to cool for a while, with the lid on. Drain. While still warm, remove the skin & bones & break into flakes in a bowl.  
  3. Remove the garlic clove from the oil, then gradually drizzle the oil into the bowl of baccala, mashing well & stirring with a wooden spoon until all the oil is absorbed. Either use a hand-blender or a food processor to pulse the mixture – so some is just bashed from your time with the wooden spoon & some is creamy. It shouldn’t need any salt because of the baccala, but add some pepper. That’s it – plain & simple with quite a firm consistency.
  4. To serve, saute some bread slices in butter with a dash of salt & pepper. Top with a good spoonful of baccala, pepper & an extra drizzle of olive oil.

Photographer Manos Chatzikonstantis