Trinidad Salt Cod Fritters with Pepper Sauce
- TOTAL TIME: 1 HR plus overnight soaking
- SERVINGS: Makes about 32 fritters
In little roadside stands all over the Caribbean islands, the local food slingers turn out all kinds of salted fish fritters. Salting fish is one of the oldest and most popular forms of preserving around the world, and salted fish are always cheap and plentiful. I have been eating these fritters for 45 years, but as the world has increasingly become more commoditized and Americanized, the little stalls have slowly disappeared and given way to hot dog, hamburger and pizza chains. If you go to St. Croix, Trinidad, Jamaica and some of the other large islands in the Caribbean, you can still find stalls serving these fritters—just look for the markings of an old taxi or bus stop on a lonely stretch of road, and you’ll see vendors serving passengers their fill of salt cod fritters. The sauce is one I found years ago, and it goes superbly with all types of fried seafood, especially fritters.—Andrew Zimmern
- 1/2 small onion, coarsely chopped
- 6 scallions, green parts only, coarsely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 roasted red bell pepper, seeds removed
- 1 serrano chile, seeded and coarsely chopped
- 1 teaspoon chopped thyme
- 1/2 cup packed flat-leaf parsley
- 1/4 cup boiling water
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 2 tablespoons peanut oil
- 1 pound dried salt cod, rinsed in several changes of cool water and soaked overnight
- 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons ice water
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
- 3 garlic cloves, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
- 1 small red bell pepper, finely chopped
- 1 small Scotch bonnet chile, seeded and minced
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped thyme
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- Vegetable oil, for frying
MAKE THE PEPPER SAUCE
In a food processor, puree the onion, scallions, garlic, bell pepper and serrano with the thyme and parsley. Add the boiling water and pulse to incorporate. Let cool to room temperature. Add the lime juice and peanut oil and season with salt. Pulse briefly, then transfer to a serving bowl.
MAKE THE FRITTERS
Rinse the cod and pat dry. Using your hands, shred it into small pieces, then chop it very finely. In a large bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder. Add the eggs and ice water and whisk just until combined. Fold in the chopped cod along with the onion, garlic, bell pepper, chile, thyme and black pepper.
In a large, deep skillet, heat 1 inch of vegetable oil to 375°. Working in batches, scoop tablespoon-size mounds of batter into the hot oil and fry, turning once, until the fritters are deeply golden all over, about 1 1/2 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Transfer to a platter and serve hot, with the pepper sauce.
The pepper sauce can be prepared and refrigerated for up to 3 days.
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Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.