Croquetas de Bacalao Tapas (Salt Cod Fritters)
- 1 lb salt cod
- 1 1/4 floury potatoes
- 1 1/4 cups milk
- 6 spring onions, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 2 egg, beaten
- plain (all-purpose) flour, for dusting
- 3 1/2 oz dried white breadcrumbs
- olive oil, for shallow frying
- lemon wedges and salad leaves, to serve
- 2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 1/4 cups olive oil
- juice of 1/2 lemon, to taste
Soak the salt cod in cold water for at least 24 hours, changing the water two or three times. The cod should swell as it rehydrates. Sample a tiny piece. It should not taste unpleasantly salty when fully rehydrated. Drain well and pat dry with kitchen paper.
Cook the potatoes, unpeeled, in a pan of lightly salted boiling water for about 20 minutes, until tender. Drain. As soon as they are cool enough to handle, peel the potatoes, then mash with a fork or use a potato masher.
Pour the milk into a pan, add half the spring onions and bring to a simmer. Add the soaked cod and poach very gently for 10-15 minutes, or until it flakes easily. Remove the cod and flake it with a fork into a bowl, discarding bones and skin.
Add 4 tablespoons of mashed potato to the cod and beat them together with a wooden spoon. Work in the olive oil, then gradually add the remaining mashed potato. Beat in the remaining spring onions and the parsley.
Season with lemon juice and pepper to taste – the mixture may also need a little salt but taste it before adding any. Add one egg to the mixture and beat it until thoroughly combined, then chill until firm.
Shape the chilled fish mixture into 12-18 balls, then gently flatten into small round cakes. Coat each one in flour, then dip in the remaining beaten egg and coat with dried breadcrumbs. Chill until ready to fry.
Meanwhile, make the allioli. Place the garlic and a good pinch of salt in a mortar and pound to a paste with a pestle. Using a small whisk or a wooden spoon, gradually work in the egg yolks.
Beat in about half the olive oil, a drop at a time. When the sauce is as thick as soft butter, beat in 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice. Continue adding oil until the allioli is very thick. Season to taste, adding more lemon juice if you wish.
Heat about 3/4 inch oil in a large, heavy frying pan. Add the fritters and cook over a medium-high heat for about 4 minutes. Turn them over and cook for a further 4 minutes on the other side, until crisp and golden. Drain on kitchen paper, then serve with the allioli, lemon wedges and salad leaves.
© Recipe courtesy of Spain-Recipes.com
AUGUST WINE CLUB:
In 1988, a local grower in Murillo de Rio Leza discovered that one of his red Tempranillo vines produced both red and white grapes at the same time. This spontaneous genetic mutation, very similar to what would be a case of albinism, gave birth to a new cepage, Tempranillo Blanco. It has been harvested by hand in Paco Garcia’s “La Finca del Yergo” vineyard (2014) on clay laden soils; altitude of 550 meters above the sea level.
Winemaking Process: Once at the winery, after stemming, the berries are placed by gravity in stainless steel tanks to macerate for several hours so as to maximize extraction of structure, aromas, color and acidity from Tempranillo grapes. They’re then presses (separating the skins from the pips) and the resulting must is taken to tapered and inverted tapered stainless steel tanks of 10,000 liters each, with double cold water sleeves to begin fermentation at low temperature.
Afterwards, the wine is kept on its lees for six months, half in stainless steel tanks and half in French oak barrels. This ensures the wine is rich, smooth and creamy, yet displaying the citric fruit and floral character typical of the Tempranillo Blanco variety. The resulting wines are then blended together and bottled, expressing their round character and persistent bouquet once released.
Tasting Notes:The wine shows a unique bouquet of citrus notes (lemon and orange blossom) and fruits (pineapple and banana) with hints of mint, honey and cedar wood, displaying a subtle minerality. And the mouthfeel benefits from the original Tempranillo’s volume, structure and length. Try is now and later, to see the evolution that its acidity, structure and time spent in the barrel provide. A couple years of bottle aging will appease its freshness and increase its finesse. It’s up to you to decide when and why you prefer to drink it, but it’ll always be a beautiful drop of loveliness.
Appellation: Rioja Alta DOCa, Spain
Varietal: 100% Tempranillo Blanco
Analysis: 12.90% alcohol / volume
TA: 6.81 g/l
Residual Sugar: 1.5 g/l
Critical Acclaim: Reviewed & approved by Doug Frost, Master Sommelier and Master of Wine.