Tuesday, April 23

Salt Cod Croquettas, Wild Garlic Aioli

Ever wondered what they do in Spain and Portugal with those big sides of dried leathery salt cod.......probably not! This is a great little tapas or starter using more of that wild garlic growing just about everywhere in the woods right now. I cannot stress enough how salty the cod is - you really must soak it well before use. Oh, and just to ensure journalistic integrity, the inspiration for this came from Harvey Nichols in Bristol where I used to work. Louise McCrimmon.....I bloody love this dish and had to wait a year until the wild garlic was out so I could make it!

Salt cod - 400g reconstituted weight
Mashed potato (leftovers are perfect) - 300g
Milk for poaching
Parsley - a small bunch chopped
Wild garlic - a large handful, stems removed and well washed
Olive oil (not extra virgin as it is too strong) - about 150ml
Juice of half a lemon
Flour for dredging
2 egg yolks - save the whites for bread crumbing
White breadcrumbs

Soak the cod in copious amounts of cold fresh water for 48 hours changing the water several times. Leave the cod in the fridge while soaking. Gently poach the soaked cod in milk until flaking. Drain, discard the skin and really flake the fish into small strands. Mix well with the mash and parsley - check for seasoning, you are unlikely to need salt but black pepper is very welcome.  Shape up into any shape you like e.g. balls, cones, logs etc - each should weight about 50g. Dredge in flour, toss in well beaten egg white then in breadcrumbs. Chill in the fridge until required.

Quickly blanch the wild garlic in boiling water then refresh in iced water to set the colour. Chuck in a blender with the egg yolks and with the blades running drizzle in the oil to make a thick mayonnaise. Season well and add lemon juice to taste - it should be powerfully flavoured so don't be shy.

Deep fry the croquettas in a deep fat fryer set to 160c until golden and crispy. Enjoy with a cold San Miguel.

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