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Deep Fried Salt Cod Raviolis!

February 3rd, 2012

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For those who were not here last week, I finally got to open my box of salt cod and felt like throwing a party!! The box was set in my fridge since December and if I tell you it is my favorite ingredient on the planet you would think I have lost my mind.

Well, I am not insane, that’s just how crazy things were this past month. But I won’t talk about it again……ops, I just did, didn’t I?

Forget it, let’s focus, the matter now is bacalhau (the Portuguese word for salt cod). I can smile just by pronouncing the word: BA-CA-LHAU. It’s, really, my favorite flavor and when well prepared bacalhau transcends everything.

But it is not like I ate it every day, in a regular basis. No, salt cod is not a current item in Brazilians grocery baskets. Almost everything is imported from Norway or Portugal so, it can be crazy expensive, the kind of food you eat on special occasions.  But little did I know, after all those years complaining about the astronomic prices of bacalhau, that my biggest problem here would be finding it instead of paying for.

I bought a “salt cod style” fish once at some Latin grocery store but it was such a poor quality product that I just gave up. Furthermore, I visited Brazil a couple times and got to feed my addiction.  The one I used here was found at Whole Foods, a product of Canada, reasonably good. Hope they keep selling it!!

And before you say anything I have to tell, it’s not the prettiest food, I agree. And probably it’s one of the least fragrant ingredients you can work with. But please, give it a chance. Do you remember all those times your mom asked you to eat eggplant?? Did you fight with all your forces and now you regret with all your soul?? So, salt cod will be just like that.

Besides, preparing salt cod is easier than you think. Since it’s kind of cured in a lot of salt, salt cod has to be soaked in water before anything. A good advice is to rinse it a few times before soaking, getting rid of all visible salt. It took me less than 24 hours to desalt three 1-inch thick pieces of fish. Simply rinse, place fish in a bowl of cold water and set on the fridge for 24 hours, changing the water a couple times.

It can be cooked in a lot of different ways too. For this recipe, a deep fried ravioli or “pastel de bacalhau” (one of the sensations of the Municipal Market), we are baking the fish in olive oil, kind of a confit style. It just drives me nuts when I see recipes asking you to soak the poor fish into hot water and let it boil for a few minutes. Usually, after boiling most of the flavor is gone. Don’t do that ok? Unless you are going to use the water on the recipe.

Take desalted cod out of the water and let it rest in a strainer for about 5 minutes.

Place fish in a small skillet making a single layer. Add a pinch of freshly ground black pepper, bay leave and a sprig of parsley. Add olive oil and cover slightly with foil. Bake for about 25 minutes at 350˚F.

Drain fish, discard parsley, bay leave and shred the meat when it is still hot. Set aside.

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a medium skillet. Sauté onions and garlic for about 2 minutes.

Add shred cod, chopped green onions and chopped parsley. Turn of the heat, add cream cheese and mix well until everything is incorporated. Check salt and pepper and set it aside to chill (use when it’s completely cold).

Make raviolis:

Heat enough oil in a medium saucepan. Prepare a small bowl of water for brushing and sealing the raviolis and place it on your work space.

Put about 2 tsp of cod filling in the middle of a wonton wrapper, making sure to leave plenty of room around the edges. Brush the edges of the wrapper with water and immediately place another wrapper on top and press down on all sides, squeezing out any excess air. Pinch the edges closed with the tines of a fork. Repeat until you run out of filling.

Deep fry the raviolis until golden and crispy flipping over to get the back nice and golden also. Remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Serve hot with tapenade sauce.

It can sound funny or wrong but I called it a tapenade sauce anyway. Tapenade is more like a paste, something that can be spread on a toast. Mine is much more liquid and mild, with just a few nuances of olive; enough to bring the cod flavor to the next level though.

It can be made by hand, using a pestle or a food processor. Just cut, press or process the first 5 ingredients together adding olive oil time by time. Make sure to leave some little chunks of olives, you don’t want an olive puree. Check salt, usually olives have enough and you don’t need to add it.

You can also adjust the amount of olive oil and make it even more liquid. You can also keep it in the fridge and use on top of steaks or grilled/roasted chicken.

17 Responses to “Deep Fried Salt Cod Raviolis!”

  1. la domestique

    I think salt cod is beautiful in its own way, and love your shots of it! Salt cod is beautiful like a piece of cured meat or blue cheese. Your fried ravioli looks fantastic and I’m now going look around for salt cod in my area. Great post!

  2. Josie Lee Suská

    Thanks for highlighting and explaining a new-for-me ingredient!!!

  3. Meredith

    I’m putting this on my list of things to make. I love salt cod too! I first tried it while living in Spain. BTW, your photos are beautiful.

  4. johnnysenough

    Photos are superb, just like the recipe! Love salt cod, and have had bacalhau in both Portugal and Spain. Have never had deep fried raviolis, though. Love the idea of the olive tapenade as a dip. Yum!

  5. Simply Tia

    Saltfish (that’s what we Caribbean folks call salt cod) Hehehe is soo good! I love this dish in its entirety. I love tapenade and think it would a lovely flavor combination for the fish. Yum Yum.

  6. jules @ bananamondaes

    What a brilliant recipe. I love salt cod. When I was in Portugal over ten years ago – this was on the menu – but the english translation was “Cod with coal” – not sure that was right. Absolutely stunning photos.

  7. Magda

    I love this! In Greece we call it bakaliaros and we prepare it in the exact same manner, placing it in cold water for 24 hours to get rid of the salt and then frying it with batter in olive oil.

    This is a great recipe, very different. I think I’ll give this a try when I manage to find some decent bakaliaros in Holland (where I currently live).

    Thanks!

  8. SaraH B.

    lovely! I love salt cod so so much, And These look fabulous!!

  9. Clarisse

    Oi! Não consegui descobrir se você é brasileira ou portuguesa, mas pelas receitas de brigadeiro, etc, vou assumir que é do Brasil! Uma perguntinha: onde voce acha wonton wrappers? Obrigada! Parabens pelo site!

  10. Jill Mant~a SaucyCook

    Wow that looks so divine. I do love eggplant so perhaps I should try salt cod!!!

  11. amanda areias

    I’m taking too long to get back to you, my friends. But thanks everyone for saying hi! Salt cod is my favorite ingredient and I really recommend. And in Brazil we use olives in a few salt cod dishes, that’s why the combination with tapenade here. They go SOO well together!!
    La domestic, I totally understand when you say even cod is beautiful, and I agree!!! Ever ingredient has its own beauty. But I think it still scares who is not so used to bacalhau, specially compared with fresh fish.
    Clarisse, vc acertou, sou brasileira mas moro em Chicago. Por aqui encontro wonton wrappers em qualquer supermercado. Dominicks, Jewel-Osco, Garden Fresh, Whole Foods. Onde vc mora??
    If you have any questions about cod fish, please, few free to ask!

  12. nadia

    Thanks for the great recipe!!! I really love Salt Cod!!!
    I think that sauce change my life, thanks again…kisses

  13. Barbra Donachy

    Thanks for posting this recipe. It looks delicious!
    Greetings from north of the Arctic Circle.

  14. Silvia

    Amanda, estamos com água na boca! Eu, o pompeu, a beta, tia lena e o julinho!!
    Ele é tão fofo!!! bjo

  15. LinzerTart

    Wow! These look amazing! I love your blog, so inspiring and beautiful.

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