Frittelle di Baccala

Salt Cod Fritters

In regions that are a long way from the coast, like lovely Umbria, stockfish often crops up on the menu as a tasty and cheap standby. True stoccafissa is a whole dried cod, in its natural shape. It’s very leathery and needs beating to break down the fibres, then soaking for 36–48 hours in several changes of water. It’s a medieval way of preserving that was safe in summer heat. Baccalá, which is cod opened flat, salted and dried, is easier to buy and slightly quicker to prepare. In Perugia they cook it like this, simply dipped in batter and deep fried in olive oil, then serve it with lemon segments for squeezing over.

Ingredients

  • 800 g (1 lb 10 oz) dried salt cod, soaked for at least 24 hours
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 6 tablespoonplain flour
  • 150 ml (¼ pint) milk (more or less may be necessary
  • 575 ml (1 pint) olive oil
  • 2 lemons, cut into 8 segments

Method

Wash and skin the fish and remove any bones. Cut the fish into neat chunks.

Mix the egg with the flour and enough milk to make a thickish batter. Heat the olive oil in a deep pan. Dip the fish in the batter and then fry until crisp and golden. Drain carefully on kitchen paper, then serve piping hot with the lemon segments.

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