Fish croquettes are a great way to use up any leftover seafood. Remember to allow time for the salt cod to soak in water first.
- 450 g (1 lb) baccalà (salt cod) fillets, soaked in cold water for 24 hours, drained
- 1 white onion, thinly sliced
- 2 fresh bay leaves
- 100 g (3½ oz) stale bread, crusts removed
- 250 ml (8½ fl oz/1 cup) full-cream (whole) milk
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 free-range egg
- sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
- 200 g (7 oz) small peeled cooked prawns (shrimp), roughly chopped
- 2 parsley sprigs, leaves chopped
- plain (all-purpose) flour, for dusting
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 thyme sprigs
- ½ small fennel bulb, thinly sliced, fronds reserved
- 2 tsp butter
- 60 ml (2 fl oz/¼ cup) dry white wine or sherry
- 125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) pouring (single/light) cream
- crusty baguette, to serve (optional)
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
This recipe needs to be started 1 day in advance, to allow time for soaking the salt cod.
- Place the drained baccalà, onion and bay leaves in a deep frying pan and cover with 1 litre (34 fl oz/4 cups) of water. Gently bring to the boil over medium–low heat, then remove from the heat and set aside to poach for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, soak the bread in the milk in a small bowl.
- Using a slotted spoon, remove the baccalà and onion from the poaching liquid and transfer to a plate lined with paper towel to absorb any excess water. Strain 500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) of the poaching liquid into a bowl and set aside. Discard the bay leaves.
- Discard any skin or bones from the baccalà and roughly chop into 5-mm (¼-in) pieces.
- Squeeze the milk from the bread, then transfer the bread (discarding the milk) to the bowl of a food processor, along with the baccalà, garlic and egg. Blitz until well combined, then transfer to a bowl, season with salt and pepper and fold through the prawn and parsley.
- With floured hands, divide the mixture into 20 croquettes. Dust the croquettes in flour to coat and set aside. Do not discard flour yet.
- Preheat the oven to 150°C (300°F) fan-forced. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
- Heat 1½ tablespoons of the oil in a deep frying pan and, working in batches, cook the croquettes over high heat for 2–3 minutes on each side until golden. Set aside on paper towel to drain, then transfer to the prepared tray and place in the oven for 6–8 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to medium and add the thyme, fennel, butter and remaining oil. Cook for 2 minutes or until the fennel starts to soften, then add 1½ tablespoons of the dusting flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the wine and simmer until reduced, then add the reserved poaching liquid and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and stir through the cream and fennel fronds for 2–3 minutes, until the sauce is hot but not simmering.
- Transfer the croquettes to shallow serving bowls and spoon over the sauce. Serve with a crusty baguette, if you like.
Recipes and images from Islas: Food of the Spanish Islands by Emma Warren, Smith Street Books, RRP $49.99