Puerto Rican Fish Cakes and Avocado Salad
Bacalaitos Fritos Gazpacho
As Veronica Toro-Ruiz, from Ponce, Puerto Rico, taught Lindsay Sterling in Quincy, MA, March 2012
Cooking Time 45 min
16 oz salted pollock or cod (8 oz for fishcakes + 8 oz for the avocado salad below)
1 1/2 cup flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
2 pinch salt
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 cup water
sprinkle fresh pepper
small handful cilantro leaves ripped into pieces
1-2 cups vegetable oil for frying (or lard) - enough to make about a 1/2" deep in your pan.
You find salted fish (under names bacalao, salted pollock or salt cod) in the refrigerator case . Boil two pots of water. Turn off heat and add fish to one pot. Soak to remove some of the salt, while you mix the next ingredients. In a mixing bowl, mix flour, baking powder, garlic, salt, and pepper. Add water to make a batter; mix with wooden spoon. Drain fish. Add fish to second pot of fresh hot water and soak again for a couple minutes. Strain and shred with fingers. Mix half of the fish (8 oz) and cilantro pieces into the batter, reserving the other half for the avocado salad. Heat oil about 1/2" inch deep in a large skillet. When oil is hot, add a spoonful of batter to make a cake. Add as many cakes to the pot as there is room, leaving generous space between each. Don't fuss with the cakes until you see the bottom edge starting to brown. Then flip the cake away from you (so hot oil never splatters in your direction). When the cake is golden brown on both sides, remove with a slotted spoon or tongs and let rest on a paper towel.
Gazpacho de bacalao
1 Dominican or Puerto Rican avocado (or 4 Hass), cut into bite sized chunks
8oz. boiled and shredded salted pollock or cod (prepared in fish cake recipe)
2 thin circular slices onion, cut into 1 inch round segments
1 tomato large dice
3 oz. flavorful olive oil
8 grinds pepper
lemon juice (optional)
Mix all ingredients in a bowl gently so as to dress evenly without mashing the avocado. Add a lemon juice if you want to discourage the salad from turning brown. Taste the salad before you think of adding salt - the fish is already salty!
Copyright Lindsay Sterling 2012