If you’re not sure about whether salt cod is for you, try these little croquettes. They are easy to make, store well in the fridge, are great eaten hot or cold. We ate them with garlic mayonnaise and tomato chutney, which sounds an odd combination but the sweetness of the tomato worked well with these crispy balls. This recipe for croquetas de bacalao is from Moro: The Cookbook. The only change we make to the original recipe, is to fry the onions slowly first to intensify their sweetness.
225g salt cod [we buy the salt cod flakes from Mercadona’s chilled fish cabinet]
2 bay leaves, fresh is best
½ medium onion, not chopped
350g potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 dessertspoonful finely chopped onion
1 large bunch of fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 heaped tsp plain flour [we used gluten-free flour which was fine]
750ml sunflower oil, for frying
1 lemon, quartered
Sea salt and black pepper. Place the salt cod in a saucepan with the milk, bay leaves and onion half. Bring to the boil, then simmer very gently for 4 minutes until the fish flakes easily. Using a slotted spoon, remove the fish to a bowl and set aside. Add the potatoes to the saucepan of simmering milk, and cook for 20 minutes or until soft. While the potatoes are cooking, sort through the cod and discard any skin and bones. Now mash or shred finely, the cod should just be soft fibres at this stage, no hard bits. It is important to do this task while the cod is warm, when cold it is difficult to work. Meanwhile, gently fry the finely chopped onion in a little sunflower oil, until soft and golden but not brown. When the potatoes are cooked, drain them and discard the milk, onion and bay leaf. Mash well. Mix together the potato, cod, fried onion, parsley and flour. Check the seasoning. To shape the croquetas you will need two dessertspoons and a floured board or plate. Scoop some mixture onto one spoon, and using the other spoon shape the mixture into a rough oval egg-shaped ball. Or just use your fingers! Place the ball onto the floured plate. Make 12-16 of these. Now they are ready to fry, but will keep in a plastic box for 24 hours in the fridge.
When you are ready to eat, put the oil into a large saucepan or deep frying pan and place over a medium heat for 4 minutes. Test the temperature by adding a small piece of the cod mixture. It should turn golden brown in a minute, adjust the temperature accordingly. Cook the croquetas in two batches. Lower them into the oil with a slotted spoon, when they are amber in colour they are ready. Lift out with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper on a plate. Keep the first batch warm in the oven, while you cook the second batch.
Serve with lemon wedges and your choice of dipping sauces.
To compare these with the Elizabeth Luard version we have made before, click here. 5 to remember
el dulzor – the sweetness
una hornada – a batch
primero/a – first
comparar – to compare
una version – a version
‘Moro: The Cookbook’ by Sam and Sam Clark [UK: Ebury Press]