Cuban Style Codfish Fritters – Frituras de Bacaloa
Since moving back to California, I’ve learned more about the Cuban recipes I grew up on. Perhaps most interesting is the impact my grandfather had on the foods I ate. Passed down through generations and then sold in our family’s Corner Market, this Cuban style Codfish Fritters (called Frituras de Bacalao in spanish) is served as an appetizer, especially during Lent, and made with salted cod.
The traditional Cuban recipe uses bacaloa, a salted codfish that’s used in many Caribbean cultures in the days before refrigeration. I had to make a special trip to a Hispanic market to find the bacalao (and it wasn’t cheap!), but was able to find all the other ingredients at my local Walmart. There’s a fresh cod alternative below or look for this Salted Cod at Walmart.
I’ve a lot of fun bonding with my one and only uncle over food lately. After my grandfather retired, Tio took over the family market and put his own spin on many of the Cuban recipes that my grandfather had been selling for decades. As we chatted about these Frituras de Bacalao, he reminded me that parsley was the traditional herb used (or none at all) after I suggested cilantro (a herb typical in Mexican cuisine that I love). I love how food transcends its purpose by bringing together generations and cultures and individual palettes.
He also suggested that, instead of salted codfish, fresh cod could be used by salting with a dash of lemon and setting it aside for an hour or two.
Salted Codfish Fritters: What you’ll Need
1 pound Bacalao
4 eggs, slightly beaten
6 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 tablespoons finely diced onion
2 tablespoons chopped parsley (or cilantro)
¼ teaspoon pepper (or to taste)
Vegetable Oil to fry
Place bacalao in a water bath overnight, changing the water every 2 hours to remove the majority of the salt. Remove bacalao from water bath. Drain and rinse. Cook bacalao in fresh water by bringing to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain the fish and allow cool until you can handle.
In a mixing bowl, shred the codfish (removing all skin or bones). Don’t over shred. I like to keep the cod fish in bite sized chunks so that you can see the fish. Incorporate the remaining ingredients until well blended. Heat vegetable oil over at medium-high heat in a frying pan. If you have a deep fryer, even better! Drop a spoonful of mixture into oil, making sure not to overcrowd the pan. Continue frying until the fritters turn golden brown. Remove from oil and drain on a paper towel before serving.