Salt Cod Fritters

  • Active Time 35m
  • Total Time 37h 40m

Serves 8

These crispy fritters are among the most popular acepipes (appetizers) in Portugal. Made from the preserved fish that has long been a staple of the Iberian peninsula and other Mediterranean countries, they are also a regular feature on the menus of Spanish tapas bars.


  • 1/2-pound salt cod
  • 2 boiling potatoes, (about 10 ounces), unpeeled
  • Milk, if needed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus olive oil or vegetable oil for deep-frying
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • Pinch of ground cayenne pepper
  • Freshly ground black pepper


Place the salt cod in a bowl and add cold water to cover. Cover and refrigerate for 36-48 hours, changing the water 4-5 times.

Drain the cod well, rinse in cold water and place in a saucepan. Add water to cover and slowly bring to a low boil. Reduce the heat to low. Simmer gently until the cod is tender when pierced with a fork, flaking easily, about 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the potatoes in a saucepan with water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat. Boil until tender when pierced with a fork, about 10-15 minutes. Drain well and when cool enough to handle, peel, place in a bowl and mash with a potato masher or a fork. Set aside.

When the cod is done, drain and let cool. Using your fingers, break up the cod, removing any errant bones, skin or tough parts. Taste it. If it seems too salty, heat enough milk to cover the cod. Place the cod in a bowl, add the hot milk to cover and let stand for 30 minutes, then drain.

Place the cod in a food processor fitted with the metal blade and, using on-off pulses, process until coarsely chopped. Transfer to a bowl.

In a small sauté pan over medium heat, warm the 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the onion and sauté until tender, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 2 minutes longer. Remove from the heat.

Add the potatoes and onion to the cod. Mix well. Beat in the eggs, parsley and cilantro. Season to taste with cayenne and black pepper. (The mixture should be just stiff enough to hold a shape. If it is too stiff, beat in a little milk.)

Using a spoon, form into balls about 1 inch in diameter.

In a deep, heavy frying pan, pour in oil to a depth of 3 inches and heat to 375 degrees F on a deep-frying thermometer (or until a little bit of the fritter mixture dropped into the oil sizzles immediately). Slip the balls into the oil, a few at a time, and fry, turning occasionally, until golden, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain. Keep warm until all the fritters are cooked.

Arrange the fritters on a warmed platter and serve hot.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Weldon Owen. All rights reserved.

RecID 657

nutrition information per serving

105 calories; 5g total fat; 65mg cholesterol; 35mg sodium; 8g carbohydrates; 1g fiber; 8g protein

These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.

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