Saltfish Fritters with Ahí Verde Dipping Sauce

Saltfish is a staple throughout the Caribbean dating all the way back to the days of colonial rule. Saltfish was first introduced to the Caribbean in the 16th century. Vessels from North America - mainly Canada - would come bringing lumber, and pickled and salted cod, they would return with molasses, rum, sugar and salt. Saltfish is known to many different cultures under different names. Panamanians call it bacalao, Trinis know it as buljol, and Jamaicans simply call it saltfish.  Often times you will see saltfish used in a variety of dishes like, sautéed with ackee, steamed callaloo, or fritters.

Growing up, saltfish fritters were always a staple at parties and family get-togethers along with souse, carimañolas, and sorrel. They make a great appetizer and can even be eaten for breakfast. This is a quick recipe to throw together for last minute functions. The longest part is actually soaking the saltfish.   Every country has its own way of making this dish and recipes always from family to family but this is my version.

Now before you say anything, I know serving these fritters with ahí verde sauce isn’t exactly traditional. You can enjoy these with some pepper sauce as I usually do. They’re even pretty tasty on their own but I think these pair perfectly with the ahí verde sauce. Decisions decisions. I know. Life is full of them.

Saltfish Fritters

  • ½ lb. boneless salted cod fish
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 scotch bonnet pepper, minced. You can substitute with pepper sauce.
  • 1 ½ tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon fresh chopped thyme
  • 1 scallion, chopped
  • ⅓ cup of water
  • 1 egg
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Canola oil, for frying

Ahí Verde Dipping Sauce

  • 2-3 jalapeños, seeded
  • 3 tbsp fresh cilantro
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • pinch cumin
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp plain greek yogurt

MAKE THE DIPPING SAUCE

Place all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth.

MAKE THE FRITTERS

  1. Soak the cod in cold water overnight to rehydrate it and remove excess salt.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients, flour, baking powder and cayenne pepper.

  3. Rinse the cod and pat dry. Using your hands shred it into small pieces, then place into food processor and pulse a couple of times until finely shredded. Transfer to bowl with dry ingredients.
  4. Place garlic, onion, pepper, scallion, thyme, and parsley, scallion in food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Fold mixture into dry ingredients.
  5. Add the egg, water, sugar and whisk just until combined. You may have to add a little more flour or water to get desired consistency.
  6. Place canola oil in a deep sauce pan. The oil should be at least 3 inches deep. Heat the oil over medium high heat. When the oil is hot, use a small cookie scoop or small spoon to drop spoonfuls of the batter into the oil. Fry for 3-4 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels to remove excess oil.

Note:

  • If you can't soak the fish overnight, place salt cod in a saucepan. Fill with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook for 5 minutes. Drain and rinse under cool water. Repeat if needed.

  • You can find saltfish in many grocery stores. Just make sure to read the package because it comes boneless, skinless or bone-in. I usually go with the boneless, skinless to save time.

  • Make sure to do a taste test first. Fry one fritter and see how you like it first then adjust seasonings to your liking.

Enjoy!!

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