Today’s recipe is Salt Fish Fritters, also known as salt fish cakes. Salt Fish This is a typically Caribbean dish served at family gatherings and parties. It’s a spicy dish, that goes down really well with a rum punch.
Salt Fish Fritters are delicious and terribly addictive. Sheesh, it’s tough to turn away from these spicy bites.
I used salt cod in this recipe, also known as bacalao. As you would expect it is cod which is first salted then dried. Salt cod is on my top ten list of favorite fish, I’ve shared quite a few recipes that include salt cod. Here’s a few more dishes you might like to try.
Let’s get back to this lovely recipe.
I grew up on Salt Fish Fritters and as I mentioned before, we call them fish cakes. Mother still makes them whenever we have a family gathering. Everyone gets quite excited when they hear and smell the first batch sizzling in the pan.
There is no one in my immediate family who has not had the job of frying up a batch. Cooking Salt Fish Fritters is a rite of passage in my family. Whomever has the job of cooking them is left with a sense of fulfillment and pride. It must be that feeling of sharing in one’s culture and family history, it gets to you deep within.
Here’s a clip of me cooking up a batch.
There are two rules to abide by when cooking these fritters.
The cooking oil should be hot but not smoking.
Do not overcrowd you skillet, cook in small batches.
Eating, them is sheer indulgence that will fill you with delight.
I’m often asked which salt cod to use for this dish and others. I always use the same whenever I can. I buy whole boneless fillets. In my experience, this is the best quality salt cod, but it can be a little pricey in some stores. Do your research, buying online might be your best option if you don’t have a grocery store that stocks it.
1 tbsp fresh thyme (removed from stalk and chopped fine)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro (removed from stalk and chopped fine)
Canola or vegetable oil
Soak salt cod in cold water with lemon, allow to soak overnight, change the water once or twice.
Once salt cod has soaked overnight, place in a large pan and cover with some more cold water and place on a high heat.
Once water begins to bubble, lower heat to medium and cover pan.
Allow salt cod to cook until you can easily flake the fillets. Apply more water if needed.
Allow salt cod to cool and break fillets apart using your hands until you have flaked the cod down as much as possible, then set aside.
In a large bowl add flour, baking powder, salt, ground black pepper and turmeric and whisk to combine thoroughly.
Add water and whisk until the mixture is lump free. Then whisk thoroughly for approx. one minute.
Add flaked salt cod, scallions, garlic, scotch bonnet, thyme and cilantro mix to combine ingredients, then whisk for another minute.
If the mixture clings to the whisk or clumps add more water, 1 tbsp at a time. No more than 1/4 cup should be required.
The batter mixture should cling together on a spoon but fall off easily.
Fill large skillet with oil until it is filled to one third and allow the oil to heat to approx. 375 degrees. The oil should not smoke. If it does allow the smoke to dissipate by lowering the heat or removing the skillet from the heat completely for a while.
Using a conventional tablespoon or soup spoon, scoop some batter into the hot oil.
Cook just one salt fish fritter at first as a taste tester, to make sure you have the balance of flavors as expected. You will likely have to lower the heat to cook one.
If needed, add more of the ingredient you feel your fritters are lacking and test again.
When you have the right balance, begin cooking your batches of fritters allowing plenty of room around each one.
Refill the oil as needed and keep the oil at a high temperature without smoking as best you can.
If you are lucky enough to have leftovers, store in the fridge for no more than a week and reheat in the oven. Alternatively, you can make just a few fritters and store the batter in the freezer for another occasion.