Salt Cod Croquettes

These little mouthfuls are crisp outside and soft inside, and are a popular starter in Greece. Cod croquettes are also one of Spain’s most popular snacks, served with drinks as part of tapas.
When buying dried cod, look for fillets without skin and bones, the softer semi-dried rather that the hard and very dry type which is old and needs much more soaking and pre-cooking.
I like to serve the croquettes with skorthalia (garlic sauce) made with bread and walnuts or almonds, or with aioli and beetroot salad.

1 ½ kilo salt-cod fillets (not the tails), washed and soaked in cold water overnight
2 bay leaves
½ kilo potatoes, unpeeled
1 tbsp olive oil
2 banana shallots, finely chopped
2 garlic gloves, blended
2 tbsp blended or finely chopped parsley
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp baking powder
A pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp dried oregano

For coating:
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Plain flour
Fine dry breadcrumbs

Vegetable oil or olive oil for deep-frying
Lemon wedges for serving

Wash fish fillets in cold water to remove the salt, then soak in cold water overnight, changing the water a few times.
Place the cod in a large saucepan and cover with cold water, add the bay leaves and bring to the boil. Allow to boil for 5-8 minutes, remove from the heat and leave in the water until cool.
While cod is cooling, sauté the shallots and garlic until soft.
Drain the cod and pat dry with kitchen paper, flake the fish in small pieces and place in a large bowl. Add the shallots, garlic, blended parsley and oregano into the bowl.
Boil the potatoes in their skins until soft, drain, peel and mash them. Cool them and place in the bowl. Then mix the rest of the ingredients until you have a smooth paste, season to taste with pepper and paprika – no salt!
Place the eggs, flour and breadcrumbs in separated bowls. Take spoonful’s of the mixture, shape into round balls and lightly roll in flour. Shake off excess, dip them in egg, then coat in fine breadcrumbs. Cover with clingfilm and place in the fridge until you are ready to fry them.
Fill a deep fryer, a large non-stick pan or a small wok with one third oil, heat to 180 degrees C and fry the croquettes, a few at a time for 3-4 minutes or until golden and crisp on both sides.
Drain on kitchen paper and then serve with lemon wedges.

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