Codfish Cakes
Bacalhau cozido com todos a moda de S. Miguel
Arroz de Polvo
Rebanadas Casa os Moinhos

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Codfish Cakes

PORTUGAL'S CHRISTMAS FAVORITES

 

The following recipe is adapted from Portuguese Homestyle Cooking by Ana Patuleia Ortins
Courtesy Miguel Carvalho/Portuguese National Tourism Office

Codfish Cakes
Bolinhos de Bacalhau
Makes about 40 cakes
Said to have originated in northern of Portugal these savory delicacies are enjoyed across the country, especially on Christmas Eve. They are a Christmas staple at our home. However, one doesn't have to wait for Christmas to enjoy them. Made for a simple meal with black eyed peas (Feijao Frade) to serve at a party, they will disappear before your very eyes.

INGREDIENTS
1 pound salt cod, preferably boneless, soaked in several changes of cold water, 24 to 36 hours, refrigerated*
3 to 4 medium potatoes, whole, skin intact ( 1 pound)
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup finely chopped onion (optional)
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (optional)
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
coarse salt to taste, if needed
olive oil for deep frying

PREPARATION
1. Taste a piece of fish to make sure enough of salt has been soaked away; if not, change the water and soak longer. When the fish is ready, drain the cod from the soaking water and rinse. Place the fish in a 5-quart pot with the potatoes and enough water to cover ingredients completely. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer 15 minutes.
2. Using a slotted spoon remove the cod to a dish, leaving the potatoes in the pot to cook until easily pierced with a fork. When the fish is cool enough to handle, remove any bones and skin and set aside.
3. Drain the potatoes and peel when they are cool enough to handle.
4. Using a meat grinder, process the cooked codfish, the optional onion, and potatoes. (If you do not have a grinder, shred cod by hand and mash potatoes with masher or fork. Do not use a food processor.) Place the mixture of fish and potatoes in a bowl with the eggs. Mix in the parsley, the optional pepper sauce, and white pepper. Mixture should be fairly thick, but not stiff and dry. Add an extra egg if the mixture seems dry and isn't binding together.
5. Heat 5 to 6 inches of the oil in a 2 1/2-quart saucepan until it is very hot, (350 degree F) but not smoking. Cook a small amount of the mixture to test for salt.
6. Shape codfish mixture into slightly flattened egg shaped cakes.
To form the cakes: use two teaspoons: with one hand, take a spoonful of the mixture, and with the other hand and a rotating motion, insert the bowl of the second spoon behind the mixture, scooping it out of the first spoon. Repeat several times, back and forth, to obtain an oval shape and smooth finish. This technique does take a little practice!

Try to keep them uniform in size. Fry the codfish cakes a few at a time so as not to lower temperature of the oil. Fry until the outside is medium golden and center is hot. They should not be heavy, but fairly light and puffy. Drain on paper towels. Transfer to a platter and garnish with parsley.

Note: The mixture can also be made up ahead, shaped and refrigerated, then deep-fried just before serving.

Variation: For a lighter, fluffy interior, some Portuguese cooks separate the eggs and beat the egg whites to soft peaks before adding them with the yolks to the mixture. Either way, they're like eating potato chips-you can't stop with just one.



Christmas taste in Centro de Portugal
The rugged mountains and seaside hills of the Centro de Portugal region offer a diverse and deep variety of foods. The French toast-like Rebanadas are a traditional holiday desert, sweet and inviting with a glass of Port.

Carne de Casmento combines local black pottery with winter root vegetables and wine and goat - cooked to perfection. And no Centro table wood be compete without salt cod, rich with veggies and lots of olive oil for a hearty winter's fest. These family recipes from from VN de Poiares, a town about 20 minutes outside of Coimbra in the foothills of the Serra de Lousã.

I well cherish the memory Christmas dinner 1977, the first time I had been to Portugal in many years. Almost two dozen relatives filled the large dining room at our family home, a 19th-century farm outside of Vile Nova de Poaires, in the Centro de Portugal. In the vast kitchen, great iron pots of soup cooked on an open fire, and in the wood burning oven, goat in wine roasted inside, a boiling cod and vegetables steamed above.

We toasted with our own wine, seasoned with our family olive oil, and the big house seems full of life again.

Finally, we all had sweet rice with cinnamon and Rebanadas as the fireplace crackled. Christmas in Portugal was a magical time....

 

Bacalhau cozido com todos a moda de S. Miguel

Ingredients for 4 servings
4 thick slices of salt Cod, about 150 g (5 oz.) each
2 pounds chick peas and 4 potatoes
2 cloves of garlic
4 whole eggs with their shells
Green beans, as desired
1 onion, whole
1 bunch of parsley, chopped
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt

Preparation
Desalt the cod and soak the chickpeas in the same water for about 12 hours; then bring fresh water in a pot to the boil; add the chickpeas and potatoes; lower the heat and let simmer covered for 45 min.; check the water level from time to time; , add the eggs, onions, and cod; let simmer uncovered over medium heat for about 20 minutes or until the beans are cooked; drain the eggs and shell them.

Serving

Place the cod on a serving platter surrounded by the potatoes, chickpeas and vegetables; garnish with sliced hard-boiled eggs; parsley place olive oil on the table so that guests can dress their plates to their own taste.

ARROZ DE POLVO (OCTOPUS RICE Coimbra Style)

Ingredients
2 lb Octopus
1 c Red wine
3/4 c Olive oil
1 Onion, chopped
2 Garlic clove, finely chopped
3 Tomato, skinned & chopped
Sea Salt, to taste
1 lb Rice, short grain, Portuguese if available, if not Italian

Preparation
Precook octopus in red wine with a little water. Retain sauce from this and add water to get 2-1/2 cups. Cut the drained octopus into small chunks.

Heat olive oil in a large pot; add a diced onion and cook with olive oil, stirring 2 or 3 minutes. Add peeled garlic, tomatoes.

Season with salt. Cook for a few minutes longer to get reduced onion, called a refugado.

Add the cooking broth from the octopus and bring it to the boil. Add rice (short-grain risotto rice such as arborio) and bring to a boil, then turn the heat low and put the lid on the pot. After 15 minutes, stir to ensure the rice is not catching on the bottom of the pot. In 5 minutes more, taste a grain or two to make sure it is soft. Then serve with a dash of fresh parsley on a platter.


REBANADAS CASA OS MOINHOS

Ingredients

16 egg yolks
500 g sugar
1 kg Portuguese white bread
Cinnamon
Lemon

Preparation
Mix the eggs with 16 tablespoons sugar until it is a thick mix -- make a thin syrup out of the rest of the sugar. Use one glass of water for this, then slice the bread, -- after letting it sit for one day. Dip the slices into the syrup, drain, and dip in the egg yolk mix. Gently pan sear on a medium stove top, and sprinkle with cinnamon and lemon zest.

 

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