Delightful little saffron infused salt cod fritters, served with garlic mayonnaise for a wonderful tapas snack or meal.
400g fresh salt cod
1 bay leaf
3 medium potatoes
1 tablespoon Olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely diced
50 mls (2 fl ozs) milk, boiled
1/4 teaspoon saffron strands
1/4 teaspoon pimenton/smoked paprika
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1 egg, beaten
2 - 3 tablespoons plain flour
Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Vegetable oil, for frying
You can use dried salt cod for this recipe; I used fresh salt cod from Scotland. If using the traditional air dried salt cod, you need to desalinate the cod over night for at least 24 hours and change the water regularly.
Place the salt cod into a colander and sit it in a large bowl or a sink, this stops the fish sitting in the salt that comes off and falls to the bottom of the bowl/sink, then cover with water. Cover the fish and soak for 3 to 3 hours changing the water at least once.
When the cod has been soaked long enough, drain and cut into large pieces. Put it into large roomy pan, cover with fresh water, add the bay leaves and the the fresh lemon cut into quarters, bring to the boil. Then lower the heat and cook slowly for about 10 minutes. Add the pimenton/paprika and saffron strands to the hot milk and allow to infuse.
Meanwhile peel and chop the potatoes and cook in fast boiling water for about 10 minutes until just tender. When the potatoes are done, drain and place back on the heat for a minute or so to dry out and then mash well with the olive oil. Add the hot milk that has had the pimenton and saffron strands added to it, mash very well and sit to one side whilst you prepare the salt cod.
When the cod has been simmering for about 10 minutes, remove the dish from the heat and remove the fish using a slotted spoon and place onto a large plate to cool slightly. When the cod is cool enough to handle, carefully remove any skin or bones and flake the fish gently to break it up.
Place the flaked cod in a large bowl. Squeeze the lemon juice and pulp out of the 2 lemon quarters that have been cooked with the salt cod and add the chopped garlic, parsley, pepper, a little salt and the egg. Mix well. Then add the fish mixture to the potato mixture, add the flour and then mix thoroughly.
Heat a generous amount of olive oil, or vegetable oil of your choice in a small deep frying pan until it shimmers (just before smoking). Scoop out a little of the mixture using a spoon and then drop them into the hot oil, about 5 or 6 at a time and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, each side, until golden brown & crisp. Fry them in batches and drain on kitchen towel and repeat with the rest of the mixture.
Serve with lemon wedges, parsley sprigs, a good sprinkling of pimenton over the fritters, and alioli (garlic mayonnaise) and don't forget a chilled bottle of wine or a chilled Fino Sherry!