Friday, July 10, 2009

Divina "Baccala alla Livornese"


"Everyone should try being Italian at least once a year", exhorts Judy Witts Francini from her enviable spot in Tuscany. Judy, sometimes known as Diva from "Divina Cucina" cooking school in Florence Italy and always known as the women with the inside track to the Florence and Chianti food scene. For many years Judy has operated a popular cooking school in central Florence with one of it's main attractions being the fabulous Florence Market classes. An insiders tour of the indoor market and then cooking with her students all the yummy finds of the day. Over the years many dishes have been cooked and many secrets have accumulated and now the culmination of these experiences have come together in her cookbook aptly called,
I was excited when I first heard about her cook book coming out as I have enjoyed several of her recipes over the years from her site and newsletter. I was thrilled when my friend Martha of "Go Italy", came for a visit in May and brought along an autographed copy for me. What a great gift, thank you very much Martha. It has been a busy period for us, but when I was perusing the cookbook, deciding which one to make first, the Baccala alla Livornese jumped out at me. Why is that? Well, because my local fishmonger had given us a great deal on some baccala, or salt cod, and I had some just waiting to try a new recipe on. I often chuckle at Judy's disclaimer, "all recipes tested ad approved by her Florentine husband". I know the feeling well, as I always check with my Piemontese husband about the authenticity of my recipes and look for his approval from his discerning palate.

I wondered how he would like this version on baccala as he is very partial to the Piemontese version. So I set about preparing this simple and tasty version and was not disappointed when my husband heartily approved it. It was simple to prepare and I used fresh tomatoes that have been coming in strong lately. I'm not going to share the recipe here, because I think you should buy the cookbook, as it is a wonderful bargain that will keep you coming back to try all the different recipes again and again. Whether you're a newcomer to Italian cooking and just want some insider tips or a seasoned veteran, there is a nice range of recipes to keep you intrigued and making notes in the handy lined page opposite each recipe. You can purchase the book directly from Judy here and keep up with her on her blog at "Over a Tuscan Stove". If you find yourself in Florence on Monday, do book in for her legendary Market Tour.
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