Sunday, January 10, 2016

Salt cod fritters (bolinhos de bacalhau)

This recipe is adapted from a rather charming comic-strip version by Len Deighton (the spy author). I've tweaked it a bit as the proportions in the original were slightly wrong, causing the fritters to fall apart on contact with the hot oil! The salt cod comes from our local Portuguese cafe, Casa Amiga, where I often go with Sammy to read the papers, drink coffee and eat custard tarts.

500g salt cod
500 ml milk
2 bay leaves
1 kg potatoes
4 eggs
1 handful of parsley
1/2 tsp salt
plain flour

  1. Wash the salt cod well, and leave it to soak in plenty of water, in the fridge, for at least 48 hours, changing the water every 24 hours. (It will keep like this for several days, so don't feel obliged to use the cod on Wednesday just because you started soaking it on Monday.)
  2. Put the rinsed cod in a small saucepan with the milk and the bay leaves, bring to a boil, cover and simmer on a low heat for about 30 minutes, until the cod is soft. Remove the cod from the milk.
  3. Peel and dice the potatoes, add to the fishy milk, bring to a boil, cover and simmer on a low heat for about 20 minutes, until the potatoes are cooked.
  4. Strain the milk off into a jug, remove and discard the bay leaves..
  5. Beat one of the eggs, add it to the potatoes together with a little of the reserved milk and mash the potatoes.
  6. Chop the parsley and add it to the potato, together with the salt.
  7. Remove the skin and any bones from the cod, break the cod into flakes, add to the potato and mix well. If the mixture is too dry, add a little more milk.
  8. Beat the remaining three eggs.
  9. Use two dessert spoons to shape the cod and potato mixture into quenelles.
  10. Coat the quenelles in flour, then in beaten egg, and finally in breadcrumbs. (See photo below.)
  11. Fry the fritters in plenty of oil until they are golden on the outside.

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