You cannot talk about Venetian food without talking about the ‘chicheto’, that wonderful ritual bite to eat with a sparkling glass of Spritz or an Ombra, a glass of local wine. And you cannot talk about the ‘chicheto’ without mentioning the Baccalà Mantecato: Dried Atlantic cod, soaked, poached and whipped into a mousse, then spread on a slice of baguette or grilled polenta.
700 gramms of unsalted Baccalà (stockfish already soaked) or if unable to source the dried fish, fresh Cod maybe used. 2 Cloves of garlic, half a cup of extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and black pepper.
Place the Baccalà in a large saucepan and cover with cold water, add garlic and bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes until the fish is tender. Drain the fish and keep aside a little of the water, remove the garlic and the skin and any bones, then place in a bowl. While the fish is still hot begin whipping the fish into a cream, using a wooden spoon and at the same time add a thin slow drizzle of olive oil. Continue whipping until the fish reaches a creamy mousse like consistency. This is easiest with two people, otherwise just pause now and then to add the olive oil in stages. You might need to add a spoon or two of the cooking water if it is too dense, this will depend on the quality of the stock fish and how long it was soaked prior to poaching. After season to taste with fresh ground black pepper and sea salt.
Serve on Polenta or slices of Baguette, garnish with chopped parsley leaves scattered on top and a little ground nutmeg.