Whenever I get asked what my favourite food is I start to imagine many dishes. How can I pick just one? Truth is if I must name a few favourites, then Pastéis de Bacalhau, as we call them in Portuguese, would be at the top of the list. I love savoury foods more than sweets, which might explain my infatuation with these. Golden fried pillows from heaven, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. I could eat them everyday and actually prefer them cold. I recently started serving these with a little Spanish allioli, (also referred to as Aiolli in English). This is not traditional, but is certainly delicious. Isn't that what should matter? xoxo
Portuguese Salt Cod Fritters with Garlic Aioli
Makes 30-35 egg size fritters
For the Fritters:
750 g. Salt cod desalted and ready to cook
600 g. Low starch waxy potatoes cut in half
1 Small onion finely minced (about 50g.)
2 Garlic cloves finely minced
75 g. Fresh flat leaf parsley finely chopped
3 Large eggs
60 ml. Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Vegetable Oil for frying enough to fill frying pan half way up the sides.
For the aioli:
Makes about 250 ml./1 cup
2 Egg yolks
4 Garlic cloves
1/4 tsp. Sweet paprika (pimentón)
2 tsp. Lemon juice or white wine vinegar seperated
125 ml. Vegetable oil
125 ml. Extra virgin olive oil
30 g. Fresh finely chopped parsley for colour
Salt and white pepper to taste
1. Place cod and potatoes in a large stockpot and gently bring to the boil. Cook the cod for 20 mins. and remove with a slotted spoon. Set aside to let cool.
2. The potatoes need 10 mins. more or until fork tender.
Drain potatoes and mash.
3. In a small frying pan add olive oil, onion and garlic, gently cook until onion is translucent. You don't want any colour so keep heat low stirring often. Add to potato mixture.
4. Next remove all pin bones and skin from salt cod. Place cod on half of a clean tea towel and fold other half over to cover cod. Vigourosly rub the towel together with the heals of your hands. This should produce lovely, shredded pieces of cod.
5. Add cod to potato mixture and incorporate well. Taste mixture, adjust salt and pepper to taste.
6. Add eggs one at a time mixing between additions. Mix should be well binded and not too wet, it should be thick. Therefore the use of all the eggs in not necessary. Add parsley and mix well. Mixture must be cold before frying.
7. Heat oil in frying pan to 190ºC. With the help of two soup spoons, mold the fritters by alternating the mix between the two spoons until they resemble an egg shape. Fry fritters a few at a time as to not crowd pan and reduce oil temperature. Use a fork to roll them around in the oil until golden brown on all sides.
8. Drain on paper towels. Serve immediately with or without aioli sauce.
To Make the aioli:
1. In a food processor* add garlic, egg yolks and have of either vinegar or the lemon juice.
2. With the motor running very slowly start adding oils until a thick mayonnaise starts to form. If it seems too thick add remaining vinegar or lemon juice. If the mixture separates, stop adding oil and continue mixing until mixture comes together, then continue adding oil.
3. Transfer to bowl, season well with salt and pepper to taste. Add parsley and stir through. Will keep in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 4-5 days.
* If you don't have a food processor you can use a bowl and handheld blender, just make sure the garlic is very well crushed.