Bolinho de Bacalhau Fresco
Photo and Text by Cynthia Presser.
This appetizer is very popular in Brazil and it goes very well with a cold beer and some hot sauce on the side. Makes about 25
1 pound fresh cod
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 large potatoes, peeled and cooked
½ onion, finely chopped
½ cup Port wine1
½ cup Panko breadcrumbs
1 cup cilantro, finely chopped
1 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly ground
Vegetable oil for frying
Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Place cod in an ovenproof dish and coat with olive oil in both sides. Season it generously with salt and pepper. Bake it for about 10 to 15 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Remove from oven and let fish cool down. Using your hands shred fish into really small pieces (do not use food processor.)
Using a potato masher, mash cooked potatoes and place them into a large mixing bowl. Add fish, onion, wine, breadcrumbs, cilantro and nutmeg. Mix until everything is well incorporated. Taste it and add more salt and pepper as needed. Add egg and mix. Shape the croquettes using your hands. If you prefer, you can make balls instead using an ice cream server.
Heat up the vegetable oil until shimmering. Immerse the croquettes into the oil and fry until golden brown. Serve them hot or warm.
The dough is supposed to be kind of soft. If you are having a hard time shaping the croquettes add some more breadcrumbs until they can hold their shape better. Probably ½ to 1 cup will do it.
Traditionally, this Portuguese-Brazilian recipe should be made with salted cod but since I could not find it in Fort Wayne, Indiana, I decided to make it with fresh cod instead and the result was great! Even my parents thought that using fresh cod did not take away from the taste in the recipe. Also, this makes the process much more simple since it is necessary to soak salted cod overnight (and also replace the water 7 times!) before it can be used.