The history of stockfish begins in 1432, with the sea journey of Pietro Querini, Venetian patrician and member of the Serenissima Great Council. He was headed to the Flanders from Candia. Due to the terrible storms, he had to land on the desert island of Sandøy, in the Loften Norwegian archipelago.
There, Querini and his companions were helped by the fishermen of Røst Island, people dedicated to fishing and fish drying. They spent four months there. The experience lived by Querini is confirmed and described by himself, in a book stored in the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana:
The fishermen, about a hundred men, are very kind and generous. They live in some round houses, with circular openings on the roofs, that they cover with fish skins. The fish is their only resource and they sell it in Bergen. During the year, they catch countless fishes, called stockfish. They get dried by the wind and by the sun without salt, because they are not a fat fish, and they become wood-hard. They are an invaluable product.
After he returned to Venice, Querini began importing stockfish, which immediately achieved great success for many reasons: the great taste, the possibility to be stored for a very long time (which was useful during both sea journeys and travel by land) and the price, lower than the freshly caught fish.
At Cantina Do Spade, you can enjoy the stockfish in three different ways: creamed, Vicenza-style or “in rosso” (in red, meaning in sauce). A trio that will help you discover this ocean fish, which can be cooked in an equally delicate or intense way. A side dish of soft polenta will reduce the sapidity of the fish.
- Creamed cod is a delicate and firm cream, prepared beating the stockfish previously stewed in milk drizzling in some oil
- Vicenza-style baccalà are pieces of stockfish, floured and cooked over a very low fire with plenty of onion in an earthenware pot, equally covered with milk and oil
- Stockfish in rosso (in red) is prepared with pieces of stockfish, cooked with celery, carrots, onion, garlic, tomato and anchovies. A simple and tasty recipe