Vicentina creamed cod

Poenta e bacalà

A popular traditional dish which, in the past, was served especially during Lent, often accompanied by a slice of grilled polenta. It is now one of the best-known specialities of Vicenza cuisine. Its history dates back to the 15th century, when a Venetian ship captain named Pietro Querini shipwrecked on the isolated Norwegian island of Røst, learnt about the local air-dried stockfish and decided to take some back home with him to Venice.

Stockfish was in fact an excellent alternative to perishable fresh fish, especially for the people of the Venetian hinterland. The recipe poenta and bacalà is attributed to a certain Siòra Vitoria, whose establishment in the centre of Vicenza was famed for its exceptional cooking at the end of the nineteenth century. The main features of this dish are the carefully selected raw ingredients, abundance of oil and slow cooking.