Everybody loves a croqueta! Everybody! You can make croquetas out of basically anything. I grew up eating, or rather devouring, ham and chicken croquetas in Miami. After some experimenting, I realized that, with a little bit of calculation, you can make croquetas out of almost anything with basically the same recipe. Today we’re going to make my current obsession, croquetas de bacalao, aka codfish croquettes.
CROQUETAS DE BACALO
COD FISH CROQUETTES
Recipe by Orly Vega, Rick Ostry, and Charlie Miller
Servings: 16 – 24 Croquetas (depending on the size of your roll)
Prep Time: 26 Hours Cook Time: 2 Minutes
Salted cod is one of my favorite ingredients to cook with. A 500-year-old Norwegian staple salted cod soon found itself on tables all over Europe and its colonies due to its ease of transport. Today salted cod is making a serious comeback in American kitchens and should not be hard to find. Any salted cod has to be desalinated before being cooked with unless you’re someone who enjoys tablespoons of Morton’s to the dome. This is easy enough to accomplish. In a medium-to-large pot bring fresh water to a boil and introduce your cod. This may go without saying but DO NOT ADD SALT! After 5 – 10 minutes boiling, pour out your now cloudy water, replace with fresh water and repeat the process. You’ll want to do this 3 or 4 times until the water boils clear. Once the salt is boiled out, go ahead and lay your fish on some towel or put it to strain for a few before manually mincing it or tossing it in a processor for a second.
In a large pan, at medium heat, melt the butter and saute your minced onions until translucent. You do not want them to take on a dark hue as that will affect the color of your filling.
Add the 1/3 cup flour to make your roux. Stir this in until it is a homogenous paste then begin to slowly add in your milk, stirring all the while. Once the mixture is uniform, add your ground codfish, pepper, and nutmeg. Reduce your heat to low and let simmer for a few minutes while stirring until the paste begins to peel off the sides of your pot with ease. If you feel you need more flour to thicken the paste then now is the time to slowly add some, as adding it after cooling will make the mixture too spongy.
Once you’ve got a thick homogeneous paste, spoon it out into a bowl or baking pan and let it sit in the fridge until cool and workable. It shouldn’t be more than couple hours for this amount but don’t rush it.
After a couple hours, pull out your refrigerated filling. In one bowl beat together your eggs and feel free to add a tablespoon or two of water to stretch it. Fill another with bread crumbs. If you have plain bread crumbs then go ahead and add a little salt and pepper as seasoning. I highly recommend having some flour on hand (literally) to aid with the next 15 minutes of your life.
Share your codfish mixture into small bricks, about 1 inch wide and 3 inches long, or to your preference. Note that the longer and thinner you make them, the most difficult they will be to work with. Feel free to roll balls until you get used to it. Dip your codfish bricks into the egg wash then toss them in the bread crumb mix and lay them out on non-stick paper. Here’s a small tip: use different hands for working with the egg wash and the breadcrumb to avoid your hands and ingredients getting overly messy.Let your rolled croquetas sit in the fridge for a couple more hours to harden before you attempt to fry them.
In a deep pan or deep fryer heat oil to 350 – 375 degrees. Introduce your croquetas and fry until golden brown. If using a pan, turn occasionally so that all sides brown evenly. Pull your croquetas, lay them on a paper towel to allow excess oil to drain and voila!
Recommendations: Codfish has a wonderful yet subtle taste. I highly recommend serving this, or any croqueta, with a sauce. At Congreso Cubano, we like to work a lot with fresh aiolis but why not cut some corners and make a mayo based aioli sauce at home? In a bowl whisk together a little mayo, salt, pepper, oil, a touch of red wine vinegar, lemon juice, and let’s say, Sriracha? or how about some fresh cilantro or parsley?
I hope you all enjoy this favorite Congreso Cubano recipe! Show us your croquetas: @congresocubano @tropicult #funkycuban #foodtalk