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Fried Salt Cod with “Vigliacca” Sauce

Fried Salt Cod with “Vigliacca” Sauce
Aurelie Jouan

Fried Salt Cod with “Vigliacca” Sauce

A spicy tomato sauce perfectly complements fried salt cod. Salt cod is dried fish, preserved using salt. It’s an acquired taste so if you like a more mellow fish, try substituting with Chilean sea bass. Recipe courtesy of Chef Alessandro Gargani.


Salt cod is a dried fish, preserved in salt. Some specialty shops sell it with the salt already soaked out. If this isn’t available, soak the cod in a large glass pan (do not use plastic or metal) for 2 days before use, changing the water three times a day to get the salt out. Rinse well, and debone (if not already done). Set aside.

We also suggest using fresh Chilean sea bass instead.


For the salsa vigliacca:

  • ¼ Cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 Pound ripe tomatoes, diced
  • 1 14-ounce can Italian plum tomatoes
  • 2 chile peppers, crushed
  • Salt
  • 2 Tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • Basil leaves, for garnish

For the cod:

  • 1¼ Pound rehydrated salt cod, or substitute with fresh Chilean sea bass
  • Flour, for dredging
  • 1 Cup sunflower seed oil


For the salsa vigliacca:

In a large sauté pan cook the garlic in the olive oil until golden. Remove the pan from the heat and add the the fresh and canned tomatoes. Add the chile peppers and some salt, put the pan back on the heat, and cook, covered for 2 minutes.

Mash the tomatoes with a potato masher and cook uncovered for another 3 minutes. Add the minced parsley. Garnish with basil leaves.

For the cod:

Cut the cod (or Chilean sea bass) lengthwise, into 3-inch pieces. Dredge the cod sticks into the flour. Shake off excess flour.

Pour the oil into a large skillet, and heat until sizzling. Deep-fry the cod sticks until golden (no more than 5 minutes on each side), and drain on paper towels.

Serve with the salsa vigliacca.