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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

A CRAFTY TRICK

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.

                                                                       

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