Salt Cod Fritters

Salt cod is often found sealed in plastic and may be called bacalao or bacalhau. It is a regular cod fillet that has been salted and dried to preserve it. It tends to have a strong smell. Serve these with lemon wedges and garlic mayo.

Serves: 20Hands-on: 25 minutesTotal: 1 day 1 hourDifficulty: Medium

Serves: 20


  • 1 lb. salt cod, bones removed
  • Water, as needed
  • 2 small russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup milk
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne powder
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • ¼ tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • 4 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 lemon cut into wedges


  • Place the cod in a bowl of cold water. Cover and refrigerate for 12 hours. Refresh the water and soak for 12–18 hours more. Drain. Place the salt cod and potato in a saucepan. Cover with water by 2” and place over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes. Drain.
  • Place a small skillet over medium heat. Add the butter. Once it has frothed, add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the milk and cayenne pepper slowly, stirring constantly. The sauce should be thickened and smooth. Set aside to cool.
  • Put the potatoes in a large bowl. Mash with a fork or other tool. Place the cod on a plate or cutting board. Use a fork to flake the fish apart and add to the potatoes. Stir in the warm sauce, olive oil, egg, baking powder, salt, and pepper until you get a thick mashed-potato like consistency. Let rest for 30 minutes
  • Place a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add 2” of oil. Divide the mixture in half. Use a large spoon to form the dough into ping-pong-sized balls, and drop into the oil. Stir them frequently to cook evenly. After 6 minutes remove them to paper towels and place in a warm oven. Repeat until all the balls are fried.