Pataniscas (Cod Fish Fritters)

Anybody else disappointed about the snow? I was curled up in bed last night with images of hot cocoa and cookies dancing in my head. Penguins having snow ball fights and sledding. Then the alarm went off. One look outside said it all... No 2 hour delay, no pj's all day, no cuddling B&P on the couch... damn it.

Instead. It's a regular work day. I am clutching my cup of coffee. Help.

At least mom made pataniscas! Simply put, they are cod fish fritters. Cod has white meat that's mild in flavor and incredibly versatile in cooking possibilities. I've read that there are 365 ways to cook it- one for every day of the year! It's a traditional fish amongst Portuguese, Spanish, Italians, and several Latin cultures. According to my family, there's a whole black market on these bad boys. Cod is not cheap! There are a few fish that look very similar and people pass these off; then you try to cook it and the whole recipe falls apart. This has happened to us once or twice, the dish comes out all funky and oily. Cod fish pirates!

We get salted cod in NJ, desalt it, and freeze pieces for later use. It's a fish that's struggling due to overfishing. Fortunately, it's not something my family eats often. It's traditionally served on Christmas; these pataniscas are the left overs. Follow this link to see what salted cod fish looks like. Most European stores have it.

These fritters are good warm or cold, though I prefer warm. They're soft but a lil crisp. I like plenty of onion in mine because it adds to the texture. Season to your liking. These are very easy to make however you need to let the fish soak in milk for about an hour. Don't worry about the shape, just make sure they're not too thick. Bom proveito!


8 ounces salt cod (or up to 250g) or fresh cod
1/2 onion, chopped
1 egg
1 clove of garlic, very finely cut or crushed
3 tablespoons flour
Dash of Salt and Pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil (optional)
Vegetable oil, for frying
Handful of parsley, finely cut
Cup of milk
Lemon wedges (optional)

If using salted cod, desalt the cod. Rinse it very well and then leave it in cold water for 12 hours, if a thin cut, or 24, if thick, changing the water every 8 hours. Yes, this is a pain in the ass and I grew up doing it.

Remove the skin and bones and flake it roughly or, if preferred, cut into small pieces. Place in a bowl and cover with a little milk and add lemon wedges. Leave in this sort of marinade for at least 1 hour. Drain the cod and set aside.

Combine the flour, egg, and just a dusting of salt and pepper. This should make a fairly thick paste. Add the parsley, onion, and garlic and beat well. Add the cod fish. If it's a little too thick for your liking, you can add a little olive oil.

Heat vegetable oil in flat frying pan on medium/low heat. It should be about a quarter inch deep. Test a small piece of the batter first, you don't want it to burn! Spoon batter and carefully place into heated vegetable oil. Cook until golden on both sides.

You can reheat them in the oven if you want a lil toastyness back.