Salt Cod Stew in a Garlic Tomato Sauce from Livorno

Transport your taste buds to the charming coastal town of Livorno with this exquisite recipe for Salt Cod Stew in a Garlic Tomato Sauce. Livorno, located on the picturesque Italian coast, is renowned for its rich maritime heritage and delectable seafood dishes. This stew beautifully captures the essence of the sea with salt cod and the warmth of Italian cuisine through a flavorful garlic-infused tomato sauce. Whether you’re seeking a taste of the Mediterranean or simply craving a hearty, comforting meal, this dish is a delightful journey for your palate.

Ingredients (4 servings):

For the Salt Cod:

  • 500g salt cod
  • Water for soaking

For the Garlic Tomato Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can (400g) crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (adjust to your preferred level of spiciness)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the Stew:

  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup black olives, pitted
  • Fresh basil leaves, for garnish
  • Crusty Italian bread, for serving


1. Prepare the Salt Cod:

  1. Rinse the salt cod under cold running water to remove excess salt.
  2. Place the cod in a large bowl and cover it with water.
  3. Let it soak for 24-48 hours, changing the water every 8-12 hours. This process rehydrates the cod and removes the excess salt.
  4. Once fully rehydrated, drain the cod and cut it into bite-sized pieces.

2. Make the Garlic Tomato Sauce:

  1. In a large, deep skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add the minced garlic and sauté for a minute until fragrant.
  3. Pour in the white wine and allow it to simmer for a couple of minutes to cook off the alcohol.
  4. Stir in the crushed tomatoes, dried oregano, and red pepper flakes.
  5. Season the sauce with salt and black pepper to taste.
  6. Simmer the sauce for about 15-20 minutes, allowing it to thicken and develop its flavors.

3. Create the Stew:

  1. In a separate pan, sauté the finely chopped onion and diced bell peppers until they become tender.
  2. Add the rehydrated salt cod pieces and cook for a few minutes until they start to turn golden.
  3. Pour the prepared garlic tomato sauce over the cod and vegetable mixture.
  4. Add the black olives to the stew and stir gently.
  5. Let the stew simmer for an additional 15-20 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld and the cod to become tender.

4. Serve:

  1. Ladle the Salt Cod Stew into serving bowls.
  2. Garnish with fresh basil leaves for a burst of herbal aroma.
  3. Serve the stew with slices of crusty Italian bread to soak up the flavorful sauce.