salt cod fritters

Salt Cod Croquettes with Sweet Tomato and Red Pepper Sauce

Croquettes are often called fritters and vice versa. Both are fried in oil, but technically, fritters use a batter much like pancake batter while croquettes use beaten eggs and bread crumbs. But chefs and home cooks pay no attention to such niceties and use the terms interchangeably. Fritters or croquettes appear in the salt cod recipes from several countries, and this is the English version.

reeling in the years

For the Salt Cod Croquettes:

  • 10 to 12 ounces desalinated salt cod
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 14 ounces Yukon Gold potatoes, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 small bunch parsley, chopped
  • black pepper
  • Sunflower oil for frying

For the Sweet Tomato and Red Pepper Sauce:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 6 large tomatoes, seeded and roughly chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, stem removed
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges, to serve


Salt Cod Croquettes Instructions

  1. Place the cod in a large saucepan and add the onion and bay leaves and cover with milk. Bring to a boil, the reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.
  2. Remove the cod with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl to cool slightly. Meanwhile, cook the potatoes in the remaining milk for about 20 minutes or until soft.
  3. While the potatoes are cooking, separate the cod into flakes using your fingers, and check for any bones, which should be removed.
  4. When the potatoes are done, remove them using a slotted spoon, along with as much of the onion as you can. Discard the bay leaves.
  5. Mash the potatoes and onion together using a masher or a potato ricer and add to the cod flakes, along with the chopped parsley, flour and cracked black pepper. Mix everything together with a wooden spoon. If you find the mixture too dry, add just a little of the reserved milk.
  6. Next, flour a large plate or cutting board and using your fingers, press it into an oval shape. Place each croquette on the floured surface and keep going until you’ve used up the mixture.  Place the croquettes on a plate in the refrigerator until you are ready to fry them.
  7. Next, make the sauce. Add the olive oil to a saucepan and heat. Add the garlic slices and stir for a minute or so, and then add the tomatoes. Reduce the heat and simmer. While simmering the tomatoes, place the bell pepper over an open flame an roast it on all sides until it starts to blacken. Remove from the heat and allow it to cool. Scrape the blackened skin off with a knife, cut the pepper in half and remove the seeds. Chop the pepper and add it to the tomatoes, along with the sugar and vinegar. Cook the mixture for another minute and then puree it with a handheld blender or in a food processor.
  8. To cook the salt cod croquettes, fill a deep-fryer or saucepan with the sunflower oil and heat to very hot. When up to temperature, cook the croquettes in batches for 3–4 minutes, until they are crisp and golden brown and keep them warm on paper towels in a 200 degree F. oven.
  9. When they are all cooked, serve them warm on a platter with the sweet tomato and pepper sauce in ramekins for dipping and slices of lemon to squeeze on them.

Yield: 6 servings.

Photograph by Rodrigo Moreira, from iStock