Buñuelos de Bacalao

Salt Cod and Potato Fritters

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Tapas


Appears in


By Frank Camorra and Richard Cornish

Published 2007

  • About

This is a recipe we created at MoVida, based on the traditional Basque dish, which is now cooked throughout Spain. Because this is a deep-fried dish made of blended fish and potato, it is perfect for using up the less chunky parts of the cod, or the ‘wings’. Break the flesh up with your fingers instead of chopping it so when you bite into the fritter you get little morsels of fish. Buñuelos should be light and soft. This comes from the liberal coating of beaten egg that puffs up when they are fried. For me, it is a culinary link back to our family in Spain during Easter.


  • 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) piece salt cod, 2–3 cm (¾–1¼ inch) thick, desalinated
  • 2 waxy potatoes (about 250–270 g/9–9½ oz), unpeeled
  • 3 anchovy fillets
  • 60 ml (2 fl oz/¼ cup) olive oil
  • 1 brown onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 large handful flat-leaf (Italian) parsley, sprigged and roughly chopped
  • 80 ml ( fl oz/ cup) pouring (whipping) cream
  • 6 eggs
  • plain (all-purpose) flour, to coat
  • oil, for deep-frying
  • sea salt flakes, to sprinkle
  • 1 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika


Remove the skin from the salt cod and separate the flesh from the bones. Reserve the skin and bones for making stock and finely shred the salt cod flesh with your fingers.

Boil the potatoes until tender. Drain and set aside to cool. Roughly chop the anchovies then crush them under the flat side of a knife until a paste is formed.

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook the onion and garlic for 8–10 minutes, or until the onion is soft and translucent. Reduce the heat to low–medium, add the anchovies and parsley and cook for 1 minute. Add the salt cod and cook for 3 minutes, breaking it up into small pieces with a wooden spoon.

Using your hands, break up the potatoes into rough cubes. Add to the pan with the cream and cook for 10 minutes, crushing the potatoes thoroughly with the wooden spoon. The mixture should have the consistency of lumpy mash. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then mix in two of the eggs, one at a time, mixing vigorously. Refrigerate the cod mixture for a few hours. This will help the fritters keep their shape.

Fill a deep-fryer or large heavy-based saucepan one-third full of oil and heat to 170°C (325°F), or until a cube of bread browns in 20 seconds.

Lightly beat the remaining eggs in a shallow bowl. Roll tablespoons of the cooled cod mixture into rough football (rugby) shapes, then dip into the flour, then into the beaten egg. The idea is to get a generous coating of egg clinging to the fritter. Deep-fry, in batches, for about 4 minutes, or until golden. Keep the cooked fritters in a warm oven while you cook the rest. Sprinkle with sea salt and dust with the paprika. Serve hot.