No, I had no business making these on a hot July day. For some reason I was craving them… Nothing compares to bacalaitos (cod fish fritters) deep fried and eaten seaside in Puerto Rico. Alas, I had to give those up when I gave up pork (they are fried in lard, yes, lard).
Unfortunately, the other thing is that I don’t think I’ll be in PR anytime soon. I remember when I was there with my husband several years ago we searched far and wide (as far and wide as you can go on an island 110 miles long) for bacalaitos fried in oil. I asked a woman at one of those seaside kiosks and she scoffed at me saying (in Spanish, of course), “Oil? Oil is too greasy!” Oil, greasier than lard. Imagine that!
The other thing about my Puerto Rican brethren (besides the annoying use of lard in everything) is the use of Sazon Goya. When I was younger I was taught this was an essential item in our cuisine. That is, until I found out that it is basically MSG and food coloring. Trust me, you can make it just as good (or better) using plain ol’ garlic, onion and salt. With some adobo and sofrito (made with organic and/or fresh ingredients) you can’t go wrong. This recipe is really easy and you can adjust it to your liking.
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon Puerto Rican adobo seasoning
- 1- 1 1/2 cups water*
- 1 teaspoon (or more) sofrito
- 1/2 cup (or more) of soaked, shredded and deboned Bacalao (salted Cod Fish)
- sea salt ( to taste)
- oil for frying
Soak the salted cod overnight (or at least 5 hours). Change the water at least twice. Boil for 10 minutes and drain. Shred into smaller pieces and remove bones. Set aside.
Mix the dry ingredients. Add water and mix well. Next, add sofrito and fish then stir. (Check the batter to see if it needs salt and add to your liking).
(Some people refrigerate the batter for an hour before hand. I didn’t and it was fine, just thought I’d share…)
Heat canola oil on high and then reduce the heat to medium once the oil is ready. (Test the oil by dropping some batter into it to see if it bubbles.) Spoon the batter into the hot oil and cook for 1-2 minutes. Turn the fritter over once bubbles start to form on the top (again, like pancakes). For the best consistency and flavor, let them brown just a bit.
Drain on paper towels and serve hot! Enjoy!
* Use only 1 cup of water if you want the fritters to be thicker. Some people like using less water and less fish- reminding me of Jamaican cod fritters. The way my family makes them is with more water and more fish- like lumpy pancake batter. I encourage you to experiment with it!