Spanish Salt Cod Fritters with Spicy Tomato Sauce

Total Time:
37 hr 45 min
45 min
36 hr
1 hr

about 30 small fritters

  • 4 ounces salt cod
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup diced Spanish onion
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 3 eggs
  • Essence, for seasoning, recipe follows
  • Spicy Tomato Sauce, recipe follows
  • Spicy Tomato Sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2/3 cup chopped onions
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 cups peeled, seeded, and chopped tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano leaves
  • Emeril's Creole Seasoning (Essence):
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • Place the salt cod in a bowl, cover with cold water, and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours, refrigerated, changing the water often. Press all of the excess water out of the salt cod and finely chop.

  • Heat 1 tablespoon of the butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the chopped cod and cook for 3 to 4 more minutes. Drain any excess liquid and discard liquid. Place cod-onion mixture in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until finely chopped, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed. Set aside.

  • In a heavy bottomed 2 1/2-quart saucepan, combine the water, remaining 1/4 cup butter, salt, and cayenne. Bring to a rolling boil. Remove from the heat and add the flour, all at once, to the pan and quickly stir vigorously with a wooden spoon to incorporate the flour into the liquid. Return the pan to the stove, and over a medium-low heat, continue to cook and stir the dough over the fire. Do this until the dough pulls away from the sides of the pan and forms a ball. Remove from the heat and cool dough to 140 degrees F, about 5 minutes.

  • Pour the vegetable oil into a heavy stockpot or deep fryer to a depth of 3 inches. Preheat oil to 360 degrees F.

  • Add 1 egg to the dough mixture and beat well with a wooden spoon until completely incorporated. Continue adding the remaining eggs, 1 at a time, waiting until each egg is incorporated before adding the next egg. Stir the cod mixture into the dough.

  • Spoon tablespoon-sized balls of dough into the preheated oil. Fry until cooked through and golden brown, about 4 minutes per batch. Using a slotted spoon, remove fritters from the oil and drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Season generously with the Essence and serve hot with Spicy Tomato Sauce.

Spicy Tomato Sauce:
  • Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions, salt, and black pepper and saute until the onions are translucent, about 2 minutes.

  • Add the garlic, crushed red pepper, and tomato paste, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in the tomatoes, bay leaf, and chicken stock, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes. Add the basil and oregano the last 5 minutes of simmering.

  • Remove from the heat, remove and discard the bay leaf, and pulse the mixture in a food processor or blender until pureed but still slightly chunky. Serve immediately or store, refrigerated, in an airtight container for up to 2 days. Reheat in a saucepan over low heat.

  • Makes about 2 1/2 cups

Emeril's Creole Seasoning (Essence):
  • Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.

  • Yield: about 2/3 cup

  • Recipe from New New Orleans Cooking by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch, Published by William and Morrow, 1993.

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