Bacalao, or salt cod, is very popular across the Mediterranean, in Portugal, Spain, and Italy, where it can be found in a number of dishes. I sampled this particular version, delicious fresh-cooked croquettes, at a stall in a market in southern Spain. Drawn by the lovely aroma, I tracked my way around the stalls until I found the person who was responsible for these tasty snacks.
– 8oz (225g) salt cod, soaked in several.
– changes of cold water in the refrigerator.
– for 24 hours (or use skinless, boneless cod fillet).
– 2 cups milk.
– 2 bay leaves.
– 1 large, all-purpose potato, about 10oz.
– (300g), peeled and cut into large chunks.
– 1 shallot, peeled and finely grated.
– 1 tbsp flour.
– 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped.
– ½ tsp pimentón or good-quality paprika.
– sunflower oil for deep frying.
– salt and freshly ground black pepper.
– tomato sauce or salsa for serving.
Step 2: Meanwhile, shred the cooked salt cod with your fingers, and add to a bowl with the shallot, flour, three-quarters of the parsley, and pimentón. Drain the potatoes well, and add to the cod mixture. Toss to mix. Use a potato masher to mash everything together; the mixture can be quite coarse. Taste and season with salt and pepper if necessary. The mixture should be salty and sweet, with a warmth from the pimentón and black pepper. Scoop out spoonfuls of the mixture, form roughly into bite-size oval shapes, and place on a floured baking sheet.
Step 3: In a large, heavy saucepan, heat oil to a depth of about 1½in (3cm) over medium-high heat for 5 minutes until shimmering, or until a small amount of the croquette mixture turns golden in about 45 seconds. Working in batches as needed, carefully lower 6 croquettes into the oil, one by one, using a slotted spoon. As soon as they turn golden on all sides (3–4 minutes), remove with the slotted spoon and drain on paper towels, keeping them warm while you fry the remaining croquettes in the same manner. Serve at once with generous spoonfuls of tomato dipping sauce or salsa.