This blog post was originally posted on April 13, 2015, and was updated on September 29, 2022.
Bacalao, or salt cod, plays an important role in Spanish and Catalan cuisine. Try this easy recipe for buñuelos de bacalao, or cod fritters, one of our favorite tapas!
Bacalao is a product that you will see all over the markets of Barcelona. In the past, coating the fish in salt was a way of preserving it—a step that was necessary, given that it’s not a fish you’d find in the Mediterranean sea! Though this method of conservation is no longer necessary (read: freezers), we still do it because it adds so much flavor in the process!
Expert’s tip: Bacalao – or bacalhau, as it’s called in Portuguese – is also HUGE in Portugal. Find out more about the history of this important food in Behind the Bite: Salt Cod.
Buñuelos de bacalao, or salt cod fritters, are just one way of enjoying this delicious fish. You can find them at tapas bars, but making them at home is simple, especially if you buy the cod desalted! If you’re shopping in Barcelona, try getting migas de bacalao at your local market. These are small pieces of desalted bacalao that are nearly ready for throwing into the batter. You will need to make them a tad smaller by cutting or tearing them up.
Cod Fritters (Buñuelos de Bacalao) Recipe:
- 200 grams desalted salt cod (see note below)*
- A clove of garlic
- 1 small spring onion
- An egg and 1 egg yolk
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 130 grams flour
- 150 ml water
- oil for frying
- *If you’d like to desalt the cod yourself, soak it for 24 to 36 hours in water, changing the water every eight hours or so.
- Finely chop the garlic, onion, and parsley.
- Using kitchen scissors or your hands, cut or tear the cod into small pieces.
- In a bowl, mix together egg, egg yolk, flour, baking soda, water, and turmeric. The turmeric will give the fritters a nice color.
- Add the cod, chopped parsley, onion, and garlic, mixing well.
- Heat the oil over high heat, and using two spoons, form fritters with the paste and fry until golden brown on each side.
- Remove and set on paper towels to drain excess oil.