A cippodat’ is soup that’s very near and dear to me. It’s synonymous with love and tradition and fills me with pure nostalgia of Christmas Eve's past whenever I eat it.
With my Italian, American and Colombian friends we’ve bonded over a cippodat’ and how I’ve tried to justify my level of italianità through this baccalà soup. And now they’ve also all perfected their Rosetan’ accents, which truly makes me grin from ear to ear. With their enthusiasm, this idea of a cippodat’ symbolizing family has strengthened and for that my heart feels full.
Growing up, I loved Christmas Eve dinners spent at my nonni’s house. My Nonna and Nonno’s siblings would join us, along with the neighbours that lived just down the street. We’d gather at about 8p.m. and begin the feast of all feasts. Devouring dish after dish served every which way, this fish fare was always something that I looked forward to. Partly because my Nonna would always make such delicious meals, but also because I loved gathering together with my family and playing waitress, running plates back and forth from the kitchen into the back room where Nonno set up a long wooden table mimicking that of the last supper.
Christmas Eve was always (and continues to be) filled with so much excitement and anticipation for the following day. There’s a certain magic in the air and I love that. Despite that I celebrated a different way this year, far from Mississauga, I still felt the holiday spirit and the feeling of togetherness. Of course, a cippodat’ played a vital role in creating the illusion of Christmases back home, but I was also blessed to have my dear friends Haven, Giorgia, Shiho and Moises with me.
Though I was unsure that the soup would turn out the same as my Nonna’s, with the advice of my mom who has now taken over the cippodat’ making, I was quite impressed with the final result. And so were my guests! In fact, everyone had seconds!
Though I advise to let the soup simmer for an hour in the recipe. I like to start the soup the night before. This will not only save some time for the next day while preparing the many other fish dishes, but it will help let the flavours develop.
A disclaimer for this recipe, I didn’t have time to rehydrate any salted cod, so I simply used fresh baccalà. That said, the salt ratio will be less if you’re using salted cod. As always, make sure to taste as you go. Regardless, I hope this recipe for a cipodat’ is useful in helping you recreate this Rosetan’ holiday staple!
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*Makes 4 servings*
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
4 medium sized white onions, sliced
2 large potatoes, cubed
1 bunch of green onions (about 5), roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons salt (taste to make sure it’s to your liking!)
1 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon peperoncino
1 teaspoon oregano
4 pieces of fresh cod
1 vegetable bouillon cube
6 cups water
Heat olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add the white onions and sauté for 5 minutes.
Toss in the potatoes and green onions and sauté for another 2 minutes. Add in garlic.
Sprinkle in salt, pepper and spices until fragrant.
Gently place cod in the pot.
Add bouillon cube and water and bring to a boil. Let simmer on low heat for 1 hour to let flavours develop.
Serve warm with some crusty bread or fresh focaccia on the side.