Adventures in Spanish Cooking: Croquetas de Bacalao

My attempts at traditional Spanish cooking (and let’s be honest, at any cooking at all) have so far been met with failure. But I had high hopes for this recipe: croquetas de bacalao. Bacalao is salt cod, caught in the cold waters of the Bay of Biscay, and it is an integral part of Basque cooking. In fact, when I went to País Vasco and visited the Foral building in Gernika, a beautiful stained glass window showed the Tree of Gernika and representations of the 3 main industries of the Basque country: farmers, miners, and fishermen. Normally the fish is packed into salt as soon as it is caught, hence the name. I took a shortcut in my recipe though, and bought the bacalao already rehydrated, saltless, and deep frozen.

In addition to the cod, you need potatoes, which should tell you right there how much I love this dish. You make mashed potatoes, poach the cod in milk and onions, mix the fish and potatoes, and then bread and fry them in a shallow pan of olive oil. It really is just as amazing as it sounds. My favorite croquetas come from a local restaurant here called “La Cabaña” . . . I could eat them all day. But would my attempt measure up?

 

Well, they aren’t restaurant-style, that’s for sure. They are lopsided and burnt in places. BUT!!! They taste AWESOME!!!!!! I am infinitely happy with my dinner tonight.

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