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Polenta With Salt Cod - (Polenta Con Ragu Di Baccala)
1 baccala or staccafisso -- boned, skin removed
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 medium red onion -- chopped 1/4" dice
3 garlic cloves -- thinly sliced
1 cup dry white wine
2 cups Basic Tomato Sauce -- (see recipe)
2 tablespoons fennel seeds
2 tablespoons hot chili flakes
2 cups polenta, quick cook-style
Soak the baccala for 3 days in cool water, changing water daily. Cut into 1-inch cubes. In a 4-quart saucepan, heat the olive oil until smoking. Add the onion and garlic and cook over medium-high heat until softened and light golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the baccala and stir until well mixed with the onions. Add the wine, tomato sauce, fennel seeds and hot chilis and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer 1 hour or until reduced by 1/3.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly oil 2 (10-inch) cake pans. Make the polenta according to the package directions, and while still hot, pour into cake pans to fill halfway with polenta and allow to cool (about 15 minutes). Divide baccala over the polenta among 2 pans and place in the oven to bake for 45 minutes. Remove, allow to rest for 10 minutes, cut into wedges like a cake and serve with "Steamed Fennel Dressed Like A Salad" (see recipe), if desired.
This recipe yields 6 servings.