Make Guillaume Thivet’s Salt Cod Fritters with Caper Aioli, from Cadaqués


If you’ve been meaning to check out the new Williamsburg tapas bar Cadaqués (188 Grand Street, 718-218-7776), now’s the time. The restaurant will be donating 30 percent of all sales during its monthly paella night tomorrow, March 29, to support earthquake and tsunami recovery efforts in Japan.

Another reason to check it out? Chef Guillaume Thivet’s Croquetas de Bacalao (salt cod fritters with caper aioli). He says they’re surprisingly easy to make, and that he prefers to use Yukon Gold potatoes, which are “a bit more starchy than other potatoes and they make a really good binder for the cod so you don’t need to add eggs. Taste the cod-potato mixture for salt level — you should not need to add any. For the aioli, I prefer to use nonpareil capers, or the smallest you can find. They are the best.” He shares the recipe here.

Cadaqués’s Croquetas de Bacalao
(Salt Cod Fritters With Caper Aioli)

Yield: 12-18 fritters

1 pound dried salt cod
1 1/4 pound starchy potatoes, preferably Yukon Golds
1 1/4 cups milk
6 spring onions, finely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
juice of half lemon
1-2 eggs (1 egg optional, can be skipped if using Yukon Gold potatoes)
all-purpose flour, for dusting
3 1/2 ounces bread crumbs
oil, for frying
pepper, to taste

Soak the salt cod in cold water for a minimum of 24 hours, changing the water 2-3 times. The cod will expand as it absorbs water. Remove from the water, rinse, and taste a piece to see if it’s not too salty. Pat dry with paper towels.

In a pan of lightly salted boiling water, cook the potatoes, unpeeled, for about 20 minutes, until fork tender. Drain and peel as soon as they are cool enough to handle. Mash with a fork or potato masher.

In a pan over medium heat, pour the milk, add half the spring onions, and bring to a simmer. Add the cod, and poach very gently for 10-15 minutes until it flakes easily. Transfer the cod into a bowl, and flake it with a fork, discarding any bones and skin.

Add 4 tablespoons of mashed potato to the cod, and whip them together with a wooden spoon. Add the olive oil gradually, whipping the mixture, then gradually add the remaining mashed potato. Beat in the remaining spring onions and parsley.

Season the mixture with lemon juice and pepper to taste; it should not need any more salt. (If the mixture in not binding together well, you can add one egg, and beat it until thoroughly combined.) Refrigerate the mixture until it’s firm.

Remove the cod potato mixture from the refrigerator, and form into balls. Beat 1 egg. Coat the balls in flour, then dip in the beaten egg, and roll in bread crumbs. They can be fried now or chilled until ready to fry.

For the Caper Aioli:

2 egg yolks
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt, to taste
ground black pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped capers (preferably nonpareil, or smallest size available)

In a bowl, beat the eggs well with a whisk. Add the garlic, and mix well. Gradually add oil in a thin stream, while whisking the egg mixture, until it becomes light and creamy. Season, then stir in lemon juice, and add capers. Refrigerate until ready to use.