At Scaletta in Milan, this dish became a notorious example of Novella Cucina, the rather lame Italian copy of Nouvelle Cuisine. Notorious because the salt cod was not cooked, merely marinated in lemon juice. However, the dish is excellent, and I have been serving it in my restaurants and at La Cacciata for years.
Have ready a glass, ceramic or stainless, wide rimmed dish. Pour the lemon juice into this. With a flexible knife, slice the salt cod fillets horizontally into as thin slices as you can manage. Pick out and discard any bones as you slice (think smoked salmon here). Lay these slices in the lemon juice for 10 minutes, turning once.
Arrange a pile of the rocket leaves in the centre of a large serving platter, then place the marinated cod around. Mound the borlotti beans on the rocket. Spoon a little of the lemon juice over the cod, then scatter the chives to contrast with the white of the fish. Drizzle with olive oil and a little pepper. Do not assemble this dish more than 5 minutes before eating.
© 1996 Alastair Little. All rights reserved.