Crispy Portuguese Bolinhos Recipe: This Salt Cod Croquette Recipe Is Crunchy Goodness by Chef Gigi Gaggero, Host of KSCU 103.3 FM LIVE Food Talk Radio S.F. Bay Area
A croquette – the name deriving from the French word for crunch – is a small snack or appetizer made up of a filling and binder, which is then breaded and deep fried. Known as bolinhos in Portuguese, "little cakes," these croquettes are crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside.
Prep Time: 2 days to overnight to soak cod
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 2 days to overnight
- 1/2 pound skinless, boneless salt cod, rinsed
- 1 cup whole milk or nut milk
- 2 fresh thyme sprigs
- 1 bay leaf
- 8 garlic cloves (3 smashed, 5 minced)
- 1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large shallot, minced
- 1 teaspoon hot paprika
- 5 tablespoons parsley, chopped
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs
- 3 large eggs
- 1 large egg yolk
- vegetable oil, for frying
- lemon or lime wedges, for serving
Here's how to make it:
- In a bowl, cover the salt cod with cold water and soak in the refrigerator for 24 hours or for up to 2 days. Change the water minimum of three times. When you're ready to cook, drain the salt cod and transfer it to a large saucepan. Add the milk, thyme, bay leaf and smashed garlic. Pour in enough water to cover the fish by 2 inches. Simmer over low heat for 20 minutes or until the fish flakes with a fork. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fish to a plate and let cool. Flake the fish.
- Add the potatoes to the saucepan and simmer until tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the potatoes to a large bowl along with 2 tablespoons of the cooking liquid. Coarsely mash.
- In a small pan, heat the olive oil. Add the shallot and the minced garlic. Cook over moderate heat until softened, about 4 minutes. Scrape the mixture into the bowl with the potatoes. Add the salt cod, parsley, paprika and egg yolk. Stir until blended. Refrigerate the mixture until chilled, at least 30 minutes.
- In a shallow bowl, beat the eggs with 1 teaspoon of water. Put the flour and breadcrumbs in each of their own shallow bowls. Season the flour with salt and pepper and toss.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Form the salt cod mixture into 1-inch balls. Dredge the balls in flour, dip them in the beaten eggs and then coat them with the breadcrumbs.
- Arrange the croquettes on the prepared baking sheet and refrigerate until chilled, about 10 minutes.
- Fill a large, deep skillet with 1/2 inch of vegetable oil and heat until shimmering. Working in two batches, fry the croquettes over high heat, turning once or twice, until golden all over, about 4 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Transfer the croquettes to a platter and serve with lemon wedges and top with greens and dipping sauce of your choice.
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