This Portuguese Cod Fried Balls recipe is a favorite of our Human Resources Director, Terry R. Her mom cooks these every Christmas. She says it's always a treat to spend that extra time with her preparing each and every little fritter - she always said each one is special and different. This dish is so delicious and light and is served at all “Portuguese” special occasions whether it is a wedding or a first communion. If soaking a traditional salted cod isn’t your thing, you substitute fresh cod. We used our Portuguese Extra Virgin Olive Oil to fry these little gems - it stays true to the recipe’s ethnic roots!
And don’t worry about frying the Portuguese Cod Fried Balls in olive oil: the fry temperature of 375 is well below the smoke point.
Pair Recipe with Portuguese Cod Fried Balls with:
Warm Lentil Salad with Spinach, Walnuts and Apple
First prepare the cod. Rinse the cod well to wash away some of the surface salt. Place it in a large bowl or deep baking dish, cover it with cold water, and set aside, changing the water 4 to 5 times for a total of 12 hours (for very thin cuts) to 24 hours (for thicker cuts). Before cooking, taste a few strands to make sure it’s not overly salty, although it should retain some saltiness or the resulting cod cakes will be bland.
Boil the potatoes (preferably in their skins, so the potatoes don’t absorb water). Once cool, peel the potatoes and mash them. Set aside.
Simmer the cod in boiling water until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain the cod and flake the fish as much as you can with your fingers or a fork to reduce it to threads. Make sure to discard any skin or bone pieces you find.
Place the flaked cod in a large bowl with the mashed potatoes.
Add the eggs, onion and parsley. If using fresh cod, add ½ tsp of salt and mix very well.
The mixture should be quite stiff, a spoon will stand up in it.
Allow this to cool completely before deep frying. NOTE: you can refrigerate overnight.
Add enough Colavita olive oil to a large pot (like a dutch oven) to be about 4” deep.
Heat the oil over medium heat to about 375°F. If you don’t have a thermometer, just add a tiny bit of the fish mixture. If it sizzles up and begins to brown, the oil is ready.
With two tablespoons, shape the fishcakes into eggs shapes and place in the hot oil, turning them three or four times to get nicely browned all over.
When they are a golden brown color, remove them from the oil with a slotted spoon and place them on a paper towel lined tray to absorb excess oil.
Repeat with the remaining batter.
You can keep the cod balls warm in the oven (heated to about 150°F).
Serve with sofrito or tartar sauce and lemon wedges.