Ancona’s stock fish recipe: pride and tradition of the city
Every person in Ancona knows that: if there is a dish that best expresses the proud connection between Ancona and the harbor and its culinary history, that is the stoccafisso all'anconetana, the stock fish cooked according to Ancona traditions.
A tradition born in the 16th century thanks to Baldassare Vandergoes (Baltasar van der Goes), a rich merchant who, after moving to Ancona from the Netherlands, began to import stock fish from Norway.
Historians also trace this tradition back to the shipwreck of the Venetian nobleman Piero Querini, which took place in 1432 near the Lofoten Islands in northern Norway. Querini described in his stories the fishing and the culinary preparation of this cod, bringing it to fame in Italy.
Here the dish received a great impulse with the establishment of the calendar of the Council of Trent, which in fact intensified the days of Lent. Its low cost and its very long conservation determined its success and widespread diffusion on the tables of the poors, where the fish was eaten with the products of the vegetable garden, like carrots and potatoes.
The Ancona inhabitants consumed the stock fish on Good Friday and on Christmas Eve. But as the time goes by, this dish became famous and it began to be cooked by Osterie and Cantine, and finally landed on the tables of the aristocracy.
The official recipe of this stock fish is from the innkeeper Getullio Zaccaria, who says to us the indispensable ingredients. Thanks to the "Accademia dello stoccafisso all'anconitana", and its disciplinary, today we know the historical version of this dish.
In Ancona there are several restaurants that continue this tradition. Among them, there is Roberta Carotti, in Via Ascoli Piceno in her famous Trattoria, who has cooked for three generations, and still does, this dish. This Trattoria obtained the recognition of historic restaurant in the Marche Region. Top quality ingredients and a scrupulous cooking are the chef's secrets. Let's see how she prepares it ....
Roberta Carotti's recipe
"The stockfish is a dish that must always be cooked with care and attention", explains Roberta Carotti, who has a real passion for this recipe – that’s why that she became so popular in Ancona.
Ingredients for 4 people:
- 1 kg of stock fish already wet (quality Westre Ancona, which in ancient times was imported from Norway)
- 2 celery sticks
- 1 carrot
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 sprig of rosemary
- 200 gr of cherry tomatoes
- 1 kg of potatoes
- Salt and Pepper
- 50 gr of salted capers
- 6 anchovy fillets
- ½ chilli pepper
First thing first, remove the central fishbone from the stock fish and then cut it into pieces of about 80 grams each, checking that there are no other bones. Then, lay the pieces in a pan and place a spring of rosemary on the side. Then add the chopped bouquet of herbs - salt, pepper, oil, wine and cherry tomatoes. You have to let everything boil for about an hour. Then, add potatoes, capers, anchovies and tomato pulp. Leave to boil for another hour, checking the cooking from time to time. Once the dish is ready, it can be garnished with green olives and eaten with a good Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi.