Bacalao Fritos (Cod Fish Fritters)
These cod fish fritters are a delicacy on the island. Like most Puerto Rican dishes, this one is simple but very tasty once mastered. You don’t have to be a fish lover to enjoy this recipe. My wife is not a big fish lover but fell in love with this dish when she tasted it for the first time.
- 1 Pound Bacalao (dried cod) *
- 2 Cups Flour
- 1 Tablespoons Baking soda
- 1 Tablespoons Adobo (red)
- 1 Teaspoons Oregano
- Fresh Ground Black Pepper (to taste)
- 1 Large Onion
- 1 Large Green Pepper
- 2 Medium Tomatoes
- Place Cod fish in a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil. Boil for about 15 minutes, drain water, fill sauce pan with water again and boil cod until tender (flakes by hand). Set aside to cool.
- Dice onion, bell pepper, and tomato.
- Blend flour, adobo, oregano, baking soda, and pepper in a large bowl. Add water used for the second boil of cod gradually (one cup at a time). Batter should be the consistency of pancake batter or maybe a bit thinner but not much.
- Add onions, bell pepper, and tomato. If it looks like too much of any of these ingredients, just cut back on the quantities. Stir with a spoon until well blended. Do not over mix or use a mixer.
- Heat vegetable oil, not corn oil (I use canola) in a large deep skillet*. Drop batter in the heated oil using a soup spoon. The batter will sink to the bottom of the pan. Let it sit there for a minute or two then gently lift the fritters with a spatula so they float. This is called floating the fritter. Cook until dark golden in color then flip to cook the other side. Follow the same floating process for the remaining fritters. Make sure the oil is not too hot. If it is, the outside will cook before the inside the fritters mushy. Test one to make sure. Once the oil is right, go for it. Make sure the fritters do not touch each other in the pan.
* The key to this recipe is the bacalao (dried cod). It’s a challenge to find but once you’ve found where to purchase it, you will not regret the effort. This is less of a challenge in big cities with large Puerto Rican or Cuban populations.
* Also, if batter is too salty, add a potato peel for a few hours. I’ve also had best results mixing the batter the day before cooking. Let the batter get to room temperature before cooking.
* A good tip for determining when oil is hot enough without the use of a thermometer is to dip a wooden spoon into the oil until the spoon touches the bottom of the pan. If the oil bubbles around the spoon at the top line, the oil is ready.