Brazilian Salt Cod Croquettes (Bolinho de Bacalhau)

Salt cod is still wildly popular in Brazil, but it can be difficult to find in the United States (though you can order it online). Some people substitute fresh fish, but the dried fish has a characteristic flavor that can’t be recreated. The dried cod must be soaked in water for 24 hours to remove the excess salt, so plan ahead.

Serves: 12Hands-on: 45 minutesTotal: 45 minutesDifficulty: Medium

Serves: 12


  • 1⁄2 lb. salt cod
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1⁄2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 2 cups mashed potatoes
  • 1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1⁄4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1⁄2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups vegetable oil


  • Rinse the fillet under cold water to remove the salty crust. Cut the fillet into 2-inch pieces, and place them in a bowl. Cover the fish with cold water and refrigerate for 24 hours (cover bowl with plastic wrap), changing the water every 4 to 6 hours. Taste a piece of the fish for saltiness. Soak longer if needed. When desired flavor is obtained, drain the fish, pat dry with paper towels, and shred.
  • In a small bowl, mix garlic, mayonnaise, lime juice, and smoked paprika. Chill until ready to serve.
  • Place the shredded fish in a medium bowl. Add the mashed potatoes, flour, parsley, eggs, and black pepper. Mix well.
  • Heat the oil in a deep skillet or large heavy saucepan to 350°F. Using 2 large tablespoons, scoop up a portion of the potato/fish mixture. Carefully drop the batter into the oil, using one spoon to help slide the batter off of the other spoon, in order to make an oblong croquette. Cook the croquettes in batches until well browned and crispy.
  • Remove the croquettes from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Serve warm with the garlic mayonnaise for dipping.