Basque Salt Cod Fritters
1 pound skinless dried salt cod fillets (bacalao)
1 cup milk
1 cup water
1 fresh bay leaf
3 medium eggs
1 pound peeled and thinly sliced russet potatoes
1 ½ cups water
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 ounces (wt) All purpose flour
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 Tablespoons capers, roughly chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Rinse any excess salt off the cod, then put into a large bowl and cover with cold water. Leave to soak in the fridge for 36-48 hours, changing the water 3-4 times a day.
Taste a small piece. If it seems too salty, soak the cod for a little longer. When you are happy with the level of saltiness, drain and cut it into slightly smaller pieces.
Put the salt cod into a pan with the bay leaf the cup of water and the cup of milk. Bring to just below boiling point over a medium heat, remove the pan from the heat and leave to stand for 10 minutes.
Remove the salt cod from the milk/water and leave to cool, setting the milk/water to one side. Flake the flesh with a fork and check for any small bones or bits of skin that may remain.
Put the potatoes into the pan of reserved salt cod cooking milk/water, bring to the boil and cook for 10 minutes until tender. Drain well.
In another pan bring 1 ½ cup of water and 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the boil. Remove from the heat and slowly beat in the flour to form a batter.
Leave to cool slightly, then beat in the eggs, one at a time.
Mash the potatoes well in a large bowl and then mix in the salt cod, garlic and parsley. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Then mix the salt cod mixture into the batter and cook over a low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and has the consistency of mashed potatoes. It should then hold its shape so that it can be formed into balls.
Leave to cool slightly and to thicken a little more.
Heat some oil for deep frying to 375˚. Form the salt cod mixture into small balls or quenelles using a spoon, and fry in batches, about 5 at a time for three minutes or until a deep golden brown.