Growing up, saltfish cakes were a staple in my house, in local restaurants, street vendors, parties and weddings. I love them. In fact, I love anything that contains saltfish. Vying for the title my favorite Caribbean dish is curry chicken and then there’s……saltfish (stewed down and served beside some ground provisions and/or breadfruit) Gosh, I’m getting hungry just writing about it! But saltfish cakes (or accra, codfish fritters, stamp and go and whatever else they’re called) are definitely a West Indian thing and certainly one of my favorite foods to eat. They’re great appetizers for parties or just something to snack on. I’ll be nice and warn you in advance though: you cannot just eat one…or two…or three. These treats are highly addictive!
Just in case you’re not familiar with the word saltfish, saltfish is what people of Caribbean descent refer to what is better known as dried and salted cod (fish). If you want to learn more about it, please click on this Wikipedia link
Now on to the goodies!
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 lb boneless saltfish (also known as baccala or salted cod)
1/2 cup milk (yes, milk)*
1 cup flour
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 green sweet pepper, chopped
1 teaspoon thyme
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 cup finely chopped spring onions
Freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of sugar
2 medium potatoes, cooked and mashed (optional)**
1/2 scotch bonnet or habenero pepper, finely chopped (optional)***
Vegetable oil to fry
METHOD modified from Trini Gourmet
1. Boil saltfish in a pot of about 8 cups of water for 10 minutes.
2. Throw out the water and boil for a second time in a new 6 cups of water for 20 minutes.
3. Check to see how salty the fish is by picking off a piece. If it is overly salty you will need to boil it a third time with new water for another 10 minutes
4. Use a fork to shred salt fish, you can also use your fingers.
5. Mix saltfish, onion, garlic, sweet pepper, spring onions, black pepper together and place in container to sit overnight. I call it marinating.
6. When ready to prepare, mix all other ingredients together and let sit for about 15 minutes.
7. Drop teaspoonfuls of batters in already heated oil to be deep fried over moderate heat, until golden brown.
8. Use absorbent kitchen paper to drain the fish cakes on
* Most of the recipes I know of, call for water. I decided to go with something thicker and different. If you make these, you can try halving your batter and mixing one portion with milk, and the other with water to see if you taste any difference. I can’t say for sure that mine did but I just know I was pleased with the final product.
** I have made saltfish cakes several times. None of the recipes I’ve ever viewed called for potatoes but this time I thought if I cut back on the flour, I could use another starch to make my saltfish cakes more flavorful and also filling. I was VERY pleased with the addition of cooked and then mashed potatoes in the batter. It, to me, added another dimension.
*** The heat of the pepper really gives these cakes a kick but I know everyone cannot handle heat sometimes, so the addition of hot peppers is option. You can try a teaspoon of pepper sauce/tabasco sauce or just some more black pepper.
Bye For Now…..