Whether you call it “bacalao” , “baccalá“, “bacalhau” or “bakaliáros”, salted cod is an easy to prepare and budget-wise option for Fish Night.
Here at H&T Kitchen, we have provided two recipes for Salted Cod, often finding the portion size of the cod offered at the deli is too large for just one dish. (see our recipe for Baccalà in Bianco)
It is also a versatile fish in terms of its culinary use….and linguistically (bear with me here…) In southern Italy, it is traditionally prepared on Fridays (especially Good Friday) as it is cheap and easily transportable, requiring no refrigeration. Linguistically, it is used to describe a moron (dimwit, lamebrain, knucklehead)….in a funny sort of a way… so it lives on as one of the favourite adjectives tossed around the dinner table between my siblings and I.
Now….back to the topic of conversation. You don’t need to be too careful with the storage and preparation of Salted Cod, simply because…you guessed it…it has been cured in salt. I usually purchase it ahead of time, storing it in the fridge, ready for when I need it.
In Melbourne, you can purchase traditional Salted Cod which has a thick layer of crusty salt, ….or the partially rehydrated variety. Before it can be eaten, Salted Cod must be fully rehydrated and desalinated by rinsing and soaking in cold water for one to three days, depending on the type of cod you have purchased. It is important to change the water two to three times a day during this process.
Note** As with most preserved proteins, it has a verrrry distinctive smell, so make sure it is in an airtight container or zip lock bag to prevent the smell from permeating the contents of your fridge. Once desalinated, it will keep in the fridge for a few days.
You will need:
600 grams salted cod fillet
2 bay leaf
2 Desiree potatoes peeled and roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
Small handful flat leaf parsley
1-2 cups of plain flour
Oil to fry
How to prepare:
In a saucepan add the milk, bayleaf and salted cod. Submerge as much of the fish as possible, in the milk. Bring to boil and poach for 25 minutes on low heat.
In a separate saucepan boil the potatoes until soft.
Once the fish is cooked, strain into bowl, reserving the left over milk. Remove the bay leaf.
Allow to cool slightly, then remove the bones and skin.
Whizz the parsley and garlic in a mix master. Add the fish. Blitz for a few seconds, then add the cooked potato, smoked paprika and egg.
Chop on high speed until the fish is completely blended. Add 1 tablespoon of the poaching milk. The mixture should be thick in texture.
Heat the oil in a fry pan.
Place the flour on a plate.
Use a dessert spoon to portion the fritters and place onto the flour. Use your fingers to gently roll the mixture in the flour. Lift with a spoon and gently lower the fritter into the hot oil.
Fritters will cook very quickly. Fry for 1-2 minutes on each side, or until golden.
Serve the fritters with lemon, or a simple side of mayonnaise. We like to sprinkle a little smoked paprika on our mayo.