Tag Archives: fritters

Puerto Rican Salt Cod Fritters – Bacalaitos

In Puerto Rico cod fritters, or bacalaitos, are a quintessential party food.  Wildly popular, these fritters are even sold at the beach.  Right on the sand are wooden shacks with tin roofs, some with a few tables, some only serving take out.  Typically salsa is blasting at full volume while a stiff ocean breeze tempts bathers with the perfume of garlic and culantro.  If you spy a cook working behind her bubbling pot still in her house coat with pink foam curlers in her hair, hips swaying in tune with the music, I strongly suggest you stop there to eat!  I promise you won’t be disappointed.  When I was growing up in Puerto Rico, summers and holidays, these fritters were not often served.  In those days my family was suspicious of any street food and would have been horrified if we had even asked for a bite.  My grandparents felt anything worth ingesting was just as good or better at home.  And that would have been fine except we never had bacalaitos at home.  Why, I don’t know… because they’re bad for you? (They ARE fried!)  Nevertheless, on outings with uncles, aunts and cousins, we were often rewarded for good behavior at the end of day with a little fried something.

Probably the only photograph with Mama and all my siblings at the beach.  It makes me so happy that Mama had on her pearls to go to the beach!

Big doin’s for me when the treat happened to be cod fritters.  I don’t know why they’re called “fritters” as they’re not the shape of, say, apple fritters or conch fritters… they’re not rounded in shape but flat…like a cookie.  Crispy on the outside but tender and chewy on the inside, these “frituras” were served hot out of the fat and wrapped in a paper napkin.  Sometimes, if we happen to be in a really upscale shack, the fritters were loosely wrapped in a napkin then tucked into a small, brown paper bag.  We tossed the napkins and let the paper bag soak up the excess oil while savoring every salty nugget of bacalao, cod, studded throughout the fritter.  Tanned, barefooted and covered with beach sand is how I like to remember enjoying this street food!

 

 

Puerto Rican Cod Fritters

  • Servings: 25 fritters
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

  • 1 pound salt cod, deboned and soaked in cold water 8-12 hours, changing the water several time to get rid of the salt
  • 10 garlic cloves
  • 10-12 whole black peppercorns
  • 1 bunch culantro (approximately .75 ounces) or 20 leaves, ripped into 2″ pieces
  • 2 3/4 cups broth from the cod.  You’ll be boiling the fish briefly so don’t throw the broth out!
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour plus additional if needed
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • vegetable oil
  1. Discard the water the cod has soaked in and place the fish in a pot covered with 1″ of fresh, cold water.  Bring the water to a boil and cook the fish for 10-15 minutes.
  2. Remove the fish from the broth and set aside to cool.  Reserve the broth for later in the recipe.
  3. While the cod is cooling, add the garlic, peppercorns and culantro to a food processor or blender and process until you almost have a paste.  If the ingredients stick and won’t process, add a tablespoon or two of the fish broth and continue processing.
  4. When the cod is cool enough to handle, gently pull the fish apart with your hands.  You want it chunks in your fritters as opposed to a feathery mess.
  5. In a separate large bowl combine the flour and baking powder.
  6. Mix the broth into the flour by hand.  The batter should be the consistency of pancake batter.  If too thin, add a bit more flour.  If too thin, add a little more broth but, in either case, not too much.
  7. To the flour/broth mixture add the flaked cod and the garlic/culantro mixture and mix well by hand.
  8. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or so to let the baking powder do its job.
  9. In a heavy-bottomed frying pan or pot, pour in vegetable oil until it reaches 1″ on the sides.  Heat the oil on high.
  10. When the oil is hot and “shimmers” spoon 1/4 cup into the pan making 3-4 fritters, depending on the size of your pan.  You don”t want to crowd them.  If the fritters are browning too fast drop the heat down to medium-high.
  11. Fry each fritter 3-4 minutes or until golden, turning only once.
  12. Drain the fritters on a paper bag or paper towels.  If you want to be truly authentic, thread each fritter through the middle with a metal skewer and hang across a large pot allowing the oil to drain to the bottom of the pot.
  13. Serve immediately or keep warm in a very low oven.

http://www.theirreverentkitchen.com

Advertisements

Pumpkin Pie Fritters

It feels like fall, y’all!  We’ve had major rain here in Lauderdale and the temperature has plummeted to 82°.  It’s 3:00p.m. and the street lights are on…as well as the AC.  Well, a girl can dream.  And when I do, at times it’s of pumpkin.  Nothing says autumn like pumpkin.  Pumpkin bread, pumpkin cheesecake and, especially, pumpkin fritters.  They’re like crunchy and soft bites of warm and sweet pumpkin pie.  These fritters are quick, easy and cheap.  You probably have all the ingredients in your pantry.  It’s a great treat for your family or dessert for the casual drop-by company.  There aren’t really any do’s or don’ts.  After mixing it all up, letting the batter sit for a while undisturbed does enhance the flavor.  And I found using a small melon ball scoop to drop the batter into the hot oil gives consistent size fritters which will cook evenly.  They’re best served immediately after dusting with powdered sugar but I haven’t seen any refused the following day after preparing.

IMG_3006

Great with a cup of coffee or hot tea, these fritters welcome all the spices you like in your pumpkin pie.  Don’t care for cloves?  Don’t add them.  If you’re not a fan of powdered sugar, roll them in cinnamon sugar.  And if you’d like to fancy the fritters up a bit, warm some caramel sauce and drizzle it over the platter as you’re serving them.  You might want to try serving them with fresh fruit, such as strawberries or blackberries, which cut the richness and really add to the flavors of the pumpkin pie spices.  Hope you enjoy them!

IMG_3012

Pumpkin Pie Fritters

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 1 cup canned pumpkin, plain not pumpkin pie mix
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, I use light brown
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, store-bought or homemade
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • canola oil, enough to cover 1″ up the side of your pan
  • confectioners sugar to coat when serving or
  • cinnamon sugar to sprinkle when serving, optional or
  • caramel sauce to drizzle on when serving, optional
  1. In a medium bowl mix the pumpkin, brown sugar and egg until completely combined.  Set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl mix the flour, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice and salt making sure to break up any lumps.
  3. Add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and stir until all ingredients are well incorporated.
  4. Set the batter aside for 15-30 minutes for the flavors to develop.  You don’t have to if you’re pressed for time but the flavor is better.
  5. Pour canola oil into frying pan deep enough to cover 1″ up the side of your pan and heat the oil to medium-high.
  6. Using a small melon ball scoop, drop the batter balls into the hot fat taking care not to crowd the fritters.
  7. Fry 4-5 minutes.
  8. Carefully turn each fritter over and fry 4-5 minutes.
  9. Test for doneness by taking a fritter out of the pan and quickly splitting open with a fork and sharp knife.
  10. If not quite cooked through, return to pan and cook 1-2 minutes more.  Turn each fritter over if necessary.
  11. Remove fritters from oil with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
  12. Dust well with confectioner’s sugar and serve immediately.
  13. If serving later reheat for 5-7 minutes in a 350° preheated oven.  Sprinkle again with  sugar.

http://www.theirreverentkitchen.com