Croquetas de Bacalao with Romesco Dipping Sauce
Croquetas, or Spanish fritters, is one of my favorite tapas from when I lived in Spain. They can be made with fish (usually salt cod, or bacalao), chicken, potato, cheese, or ham. Normally, they would be served with an allioli, but this time we decided to pair them with romesco, a yummy Catalan sauce made of roasted red peppers, tomatoes, and almonds.
Adapted from Food Network
2 large Idaho potato (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled and cubed
12 ounces prepared Salt Cod, shredded (about 2 cups), see below for preparation
1/2 cup finely chopped green onions (green and white parts)
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
4 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
1 cup bleached all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons milk
- FOR BACALAO (SALT COD): Lay the cod in a single layer in a large glass or ceramic dish. Add enough water to cover the fish by 1 inch. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 6 hours.
- Drain the fish in a colander and rinse under cold running water. Place on a work surface covered with paper towels. Press each piece of fish firmly with your hands to extract as much liquid as possible. Pat the fish dry with paper towels and return to the dish. Cover with fresh water, soaking and draining a total of 3 more times. (Don't worry if you stretch the soaking times to 8 hours.)
- Put the rinsed salt cod in an airtight container until ready to use. It can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.
- FOR FRITTERS: Bring the potatoes and enough water, to cover, to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook just until fork-tender, about 12 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Let cool for about 10 minutes. Mash the potatoes with a fork until fairly smooth. Add the salt cod, green onions, parsley, 2 eggs, the salt, and cayenne, and mix until well blended.
- In a large, heavy pot or dutch oven, heat enough vegetable oil to come halfway up the sides to 360 degrees F.
- Form the cod mixture into balls about 1/4 cup each. Roll first to coat evenly in the flour. Shake to remove any excess, dip in the egg wash, coat in flour again, and place on a baking sheet.
- In batches, deep-fry the fritters until golden, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fritters to a paper towel–lined baking sheet.
Adapted from Cooks Illustrated
Several slices of stale baguette
3 tablespoons slivered almonds , toasted in a small dry skillet over medium heat until beginning to brown, about 4 minutes
2 red peppers
About a dozen grape tomatoes
1 large clove garlic
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- Toast bread in toaster at lowest setting until surface is dry but not browned. Remove crusts and cut bread into rough 1/2-inch pieces (you should have about 1/2 cup).
- Roast the red peppers and tomatoes in a 400 degree oven until browned, turning once. Let cool, and peel the skin off red peppers and discard.
- Process bread and almonds in food processor until nuts are finely ground, 10 to 15 seconds. Add red peppers, tomato, garlic, oil, vinegar, crushed red pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Pulse, scraping down side of bowl as necessary, until mixture has texture similar to mayonnaise, 20 to 30 seconds. Adjust seasoning with salt; transfer mixture to bowl and serve. (Can refrigerate in airtight container up to 2 days; return sauce to room temperature before serving.)