Grandma’s Baccala Soup – The Real Deal!

Our Friends, Michael and Josephine, are kind enough to share a family recipe with us today in a special “Italian Guest Post”.

Dating back to Josephine’s great-grandmother, this one is a keeper! Can’t you just smell it simmering on your stove during this cold snap most of us are experiencing? So, sit back, relax, and savor the soup.

Soup Ready to Eat

“Every Christmas Eve, my Grandmother would make her Baccala Soup.  It is her Mother’s recipe that originated from their family in Melilli, Sicily.  In December of 1993, when my Grandmother was 84, she wrote down the recipe for me. She continued to make the soup for us into her late eighties. 

 Her recipe doesn’t have set quantities. However, I’ve done my best to narrow down the amounts.”


  •  2 lbs baccala (salted cod-fish)
  • Olive Oil
  • 2 bunches of scallions
  • 1 tablespoon of capers (rinsed)
  • 32 oz container of pitted green olives from the grocery deli (rinsed)
  • 2 cans of whole peeled tomatoes, 24 ounce cans (use the tomatoes only in this recipe, and reserve the puree for another day)
  • 3 or 4 carrots (chopped)
  • 3 russet potatoes (chopped)
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes


Scallions Soak baccala for 24 hours in cold water to rehydrate the fish and remove excess salt.

Salt Cod

 I use an 8 quart pan.

  • Cover the bottom of the pan with Olive Oil
  • Saute Scallions for a few minutes
  • Add tomatoes while continuing to sauté
  • Add capers and olives

In the pot

  • Add water until pan is ¾ full and start to bring to a boil
  • Add chopped carrots and potatoes
  • Cook until soft, about 25 minutes
  • Add baccala and cook about 8 minutes, until it sheds easily
  • Add red pepper flakes to taste

Buon Appetito! Thanks so much, Josephine, for sharing such a tasty family heirloom!


About Our Kitchen Inventions

Inspired by travels to Italy, cooking with fresh ingredients, sharing our Kitchen Inventions dinners with friends, and enjoying good wine. Photography and cooking are the main focus for our site. Please stop by Wade's website to enjoy more of his works of photography.
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13 Responses to Grandma’s Baccala Soup – The Real Deal!

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  2. Pingback: A sense memory: Portugese Cod Soup | Made by Steven:

  3. Karen says:

    What a different and great sounding soup. I’ve never had one with olives in it.


  4. Cteavin says:

    If you’d like a little culture shock, check out this page for cod. 3 90 gram slices for about 20USD. You can delete this post by marking it as SPAM. I though you might like a sample of how they eat cod over here.


  5. Oh this looks wonderful but since I’m down with the flu right now, could you please send up an emergency supply? This is the sort of thing I know I should make up and freeze BEFORE or winter brings on all kinds of nasty bugs.


  6. Cteavin says:

    I grew up eating the Portuguese version of this dish. You’re right, it’s exceptional.


    • Any soup is my kinda soup….was the version you grew up with very different?

      I was so delighted that they shared this family recipe with us for the blog. Yummy for sure!


      • Cteavin says:

        My father’s side are from the Azores. The whole clan moved to Los Angeles at the same time, culinary traditions in tact, including a soup that is almost identical to this. My aunts added kale near the end of cooking and didn’t use any pepper flakes. Putting olives and capers depend on their budgets. To stretch it, they would add cabbage. And the custom was to float a pice of rustic bread on top.

        Gosh, it really brings back memories. I don’t think I’ve ever seen dried cod here. What do you think, could you make this with fresh cod?


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