Pasteis de Bacalhau.

Delicious fish cakes made from Portugal's favorite fish, bacalhau (salted cod).


300g Bacalhau

300g Potatoes

2 Eggs

Half and onion, grated

Handful of finely chopped parsley

Little Pepper

Cooking oil (a good oil for deep frying - not olive oil)

If you buy the dry salted cod you will need to soak it for 48 hours in order to remove the salt. Place the dry bacalhau in a bowl which is large enough to hold it and for it to be completely covered with water. You can put the bowl in the fridge and remember to change the water twice a day.

It is easier to buy bacalhau demolhado - this means that the salt has already been removed. You will often find this type of bacalhau in the frozen fish section in the supermarket. With bacalhau demolhado simply defrost and it is ready to cook.

Cook the bacalhau in a saucepan of boiling water for about 15 minutes or until it begins to flake when you put a fork through it.

Boil the potatoes with their skins until they are soft. Keeping the skins on reduces the amount of water that the potato takes in when it is cooking. Remove the bacalhau from the saucepan and allow it to cool a little so that you can then remove the skin and all of the bones. Break up the bacalhau with your hands into strands as small as you can and place in a bowl.

Peel the potatoes and crush them as if you were making mashed potatoes. Add the mashed potatoes to the bacalhau. Add the eggs, a handful of finely chopped parsley and half a grated onion. Add a little pepper, but no salt because the bacalhau will already have enough salt.

Mix all the ingredients thoroughly together with your hands until you have a very even paste.

Now you will now need to shape the fish cakes into small oval shapes using two deep tablespoons. Fill one of the spoons with paste and scoop the two spoona around the paste until you have a small egg shape. This process is a little tricky and requires some practice. Rest the oval shaped fish cakes on a plate.

Heat the cooking oil in a small, deep saucepan. You need to have enough depth of oil for the fish cakes to float around while they cook. When the oil is hot put the fish cakes in allowing space for them to move in the oil. If they stick to the bottom gently remove them with a fork. Remove when they are golden brown and place on a tray or plate with kitchen paper to remove excess oil.

Serve with salad or rice or side dish of your choice.

Can be eaten hot or cold.

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