Salt-cod Fritters, Saffron Aliolli

Bunuelos de Bacalhau | Salt Cod Fritters

280g salted cod, preferably thick pieces

400g floury potatoes, unpeeled

2 cloves of garlic, very finely crushed

sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

For the batter

6fl oz water

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 large eggs

Vegetable oil, for frying

Soak the salt cod. Rinse the cod well under running water to remove surface salt. Place the fish in a large bowl and cover with cold water by 2 inches. Stretch plastic wrap over the top, and refrigerate, changing the water several times until the cod is sufficiently desalted for you. Take a nibble—it’s perfectly safe to eat. If it’s too salty, change the water again, and let it sit for a few more hours. The process can take anywhere from 12 to 48 hours, depending on the type and size of the fillet. Above all, bear this in mind: You can always add more salt, but you can’t remove it from a finished dish.

Transfer the cod to a medium saucepan, cover with fresh water by 2 inches, and bring to a gentle simmer over medium-low heat. Cook the salt cod until it flakes easily when poked with a fork, 10 to 12 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cod to a plate until the fish is cool enough to handle. Bring the water the salt cod was simmered in to a boil, drop in the potato, and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain in a colander. Put it back in the pan and mash it well with the crushed garlic

Remove any skin, bones, and miscellaneous bits and bobs from the cooled cod, then shred it. A food processor does a good job in 10 seconds. Stir the cod into the potato mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste. It’s not a bad idea to over-season a bit here, as the batter will tame the flavor some.

Rinse the saucepan you’ve been using, pour in the water and oil, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Shake in the flour slowly and stir with a wooden spoon to make a batter. It’ll be lumpy, but press on. A few more minutes and it’ll all work itself out. Remove the pan from the heat and continue beating the batter for 2 to 3 minutes to cool it. Add the eggs one at a time, incorporating completely after each addition. Add the cod mixture to the pan and stir to combine. It should be the consistency of a nice thick-enough-to-stand-your-spoon-up-in-it porridge. Let the batter cool to room temperature. If you wish, you can keep it for several hours and fry off the fritters whenever

you like.

Fry the fritters. Heat 3 inches of the oil in a high-sided saucepan over medium-high heat until it reaches 350°F (177°C). Spoon out a rounded tablespoon or so of the batter, scrape it into the oil using another spoon—remember, irregular is better—and fry until golden brown and cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain on a brown paper bag and serve hot, hot, hot.

For the Alliollio

2 cloves garlic

2 egg yolks

juice of half a lemon

sea salt

large pinch saffron threads

3/4 cup / 6 fl oz olive oil

The quality of your oil with dramatically effect this dish. Some like it strong and peppery, some more fruity or you could go for a combination of both.

Steep the saffron threads in very little hot water for about 10 minutes

In the bowl of a blender first puree the garlic with the lemon juice and egg yokes until completely smooth. Add the drained saffron making sure not to waste any threads. Add a good pinch of salt and slowly with the motor running drizzle in the olive oil until completely emulsified in a mayonnaise consistancy. Check taste for salt and acid, adding more salt or lemon juice if necessary.

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