To prepare the Baccalà (salted cod), rinse the salted cod under cold running water. Place the salted cod in a glass bowl and cover completely with cold water by approximately 5 cm. Place the bowl in the fridge and soak for 2-3 days (see note 2), changing the water 3 times a day.
Lay the salted cod on a plate and run your fingers along the length of the fillet. When you feel the tip of a fish bone, use clean tweezers to grasp the tip of the bone and pull it out. Continue down the line and along the length of the fillet to feel for any additional bones and pull them out.
Place the cod into a large saucepan with cold water, uncovered over medium heat. Add the garlic clove, bay leaf and lemon wedges. Bring to the boil, then cook for a further 20 minutes. Remove the cod from the water and allow to cool slightly.
Use your hands to break up the cooked cod into small flakes. Discard the skin and bones of the fish. Use a mortar and pestle to lightly pound the cod into a coarse paste, then gradually add the olive oil. Continue to pound and stir until combined and smooth. Stir in the chopped parsley.
Transfer the Baccalà mantecato alla veneziana to a serving bowl. Serve with grilled Pane di casa or ciabatta bread. Serve immediately – buon appetito.
Note: Salted cod differs in the degree of saltiness. For this reason, this recipe requires 2 or 3 days soaking. To test the level of saltiness, cut a small piece of salted cod after 2 days soaking and fry it. Taste the piece of salted cod which should be a little salty. If it is overwhelmingly salty when testing, soak for 3 days instead of 2.
300g dried salted cod|1 clove garlic|1 bay leaf|1 lemon, cut into 4 wedges|100ml extra virgin olive oil (see note 1)|2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped|Sea salt, freshly ground black pepper