In Carrara, stockfish was often prepared without beating – perhaps because the inhabitants had grown fearful of damaging their newly acquired plastic-topped tables. So, after soaking (7 days) the fish was poached, then flaked, and slowly cooked in earthenware in the baker’s oven with olive oil, onion, parsley, celery, fragments of hot chilli pepper (dried), sliced potatoes,
Clara who years before used to make it in quantity for 40 marble workmen on Saturdays, continued to make it on Mondays throughout the year, and could be seen returning with her covered dish from the nearby baker’s oven to her undaunted clientele – a select band of marble workers – in the Piazza San Francesco. Lunchtime conversation often harped on the possibility of Clara extending her culinary vocabulary, which was confined to past’asciutta, pasta in brodo, zuppa di fagioli, la trippa, baccalà marinato, and stoccafísso al forno, which vied in indigestibility with another dish fortunately more rarely executed, muscoli ripieni, which last is a curiosity, the mussels being stuffed with herbs and sausage meat. Clara’s cooking was far outstripped by her kindness of heart, on which account her clients cleaved to her.