Salt Cod Croquettes with Ouzo and Spices
Here’s a variation on the theme of fried salt cod, one of the great fish dishes of Greek cuisine, savored at home and in tavernas, especially on March 25th, the Annunciation, and Palm Sunday. The ouzo or mastiha liqueur add a delicious touch.
- 2 large leeks cleaned and chopped
- 1 medium piece of salt cod fillet about 1 ½ pounds / 750 g, desalted, or 1 1/2 pounds fresh cod fillet
- 2 tbsp fennel chopped
- 2 tbsp dill chopped
- ¼ cup parsley chopped
- 2 tbsp Mastic liqueur or Ouzo
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- Salt and white pepper preferably
- 1 egg optional
- Flour for dusting
- Olive oil for frying
To desalt the cod, start one or two days before preparing this recipe. Place the cod in a nonreactive colander inside a large basin of water and soak for two days, changing the water every few hours. Remove and shred. If using fresh cod, shred, making sure there are no bones.
Puree the leeks in a food processor or blender. Add the cod and spices and beat until reduced to a purée. Add the mastic or ouzo, spices, salt and pepper and process for a few more seconds. Add the egg, if using, and continue beating for a few seconds until all the ingredients are well combined. Transfer the mixture into a bowl and set aside, covered, in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours to firm up.
Empty about a cup of flour into a large plate. Take a tablespoon at a time of the cod mixture and shape into balls about 1 ½ inches / 4 cm in diameter. Dredge lightly with flour and set aside.
Heat about 3 inches of olive oil a medium saucepan until just below the smoking point, and fry the croquettes a few at a time until golden brown. Remove with a spider or slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Continue until all the croquettes are fried. Serve hot, with skordalia.