Bakalar is dried cod and is most definitely not to be confused with Lutefisk- the gelatinous stinky white fish that my Scandinavian family recall from the all-white Christmas smorgasbord of childhood. Bakalar is the Croatian name for the dried white fish that is imported from the Nordic region and is very popular in Croatia. It is also a traditional Christmas Eve dinner on the Dalmatian coast, where Miljan is from. Bakalar (or Klippfisk) is treated with lye and then becomes Lutefisk, but it’s not quite the same thing.

The first time I saw the dried fish hanging on a rack in the market, I certainly didn’t imagine I would (ever) eat such a thing, and I was at a loss of words when I sarcastically remarked “oh yum” and Milo replied “oh yeah, that is delicious.” I wasn’t sure whether or not he was serious. But then I figured out, oh yes, he was quite serious, and I have eaten (and enjoyed!) bakalar numerous times, but this was the first time Milo made it himself.

First, we soaked a piece (about one-third of the fish) in water overnight. Then we boiled it for 2 hours, and this is where it gets stinky. Despite the cold, we opted to leave a few windows open.

Then he flaked the meat off, and put it back in the pot with some garlic, onion, tomato paste, potato chunks, bay leaf, and oregano. This cooked for about one more hour. 

Delicious- light broth with nice pieces of fish and potato, and finished with olive oil and sea salt. Dobar tek!