Spanish Salt Cod Fritters with Spicy Tomato Sauce

Total Time:
37 hr 45 min
45 min
Inactive Prep:
36 hr
1 hr
about 30 small fritters


  • 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
  • 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


        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.

        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.

        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