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Baccalà alla fratina, friar’s cod, a recipe from Trequanda in Tuscany

Baccalà alla fratina, friar’s cod, a recipe from Trequanda in Tuscany

Cod is really apt for the lent period, even though once it was considered a poor man’s fish, while today it is a delicacy for the rich; this is a traditional Tuscan recipe

Baccalà alla fratina di Trequanda

By Donatella Cinelli Colombini

In the Tuscan countryside baccalà was, together with anchovies, the only available fish and king of the days of lent


The housewives had learnt to cook it with great sauces, even though in the dish one got only a small piece of cod, although with bread dipped in this very tasty sauce one was able to ease the hunger.

Nobody remembers the reason for this recipe’s strange name even though monks touring the countryside asking for charity were a frequent vision in farmhouses and around the villages, so we can think that maybe there were some dishes created especially to honour them. At  Fattoria del Colle there is even an apartment called “monache” (nuns) which used to be used to welcome these religious people on their way, it is in a position that allowed the guests to go outside without having to pass through the kitchens and the pantry. It was not unusual in fact there to be monks who were imposters, who tried to get into pantries and cupboards to thieve food, and so it was necessary to take precautions.




 Accompany the baccalà alla fratina with a structured rosé such as IGT

Rosa di tetto from Fattoria del Colle


½ kg of cod, 3 spoonfuls of flour , half a glass extra virgin olive oil, 3 onions, ½ glass of white wine, ½ kg of peeled tomatoes with their juice, hot peperoncino, salt



Choose a nice whole piece of stockfish with the fishbone; leave it to soak a whole day changing the water often. Cut the cod into pieces about 10 cm long.Coat them in flour. Fry in olive oil. Once fried put on yellow absorbent paper. Put the thinly sliced onions in the pan. As soon as they begin to colour pour in the white wine and let it evaporate over a low flame, then add the peperoncino and the chopped peeled tomatoes. Add a little salt. As soon as the tomatoes have changed consistency put the stockfish back in the pan, turning it over so that both sides take on the flavour from the sauce. Serve hot.

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