Saltcod cakes are the best known Portuguese snacks. This traditional delicacy can be found from the simplest roadside café to the high-end restaurant, as here, sometimes fusioned with more contemporary ingredients. My grandmother used to cook them more when the weather was getting warmer, from Spring onwards. I used to love seeing her chopping the parsley, mashing the potatoes, shredding the cod and assembling everything with an egg in a cream coloured china bowl. Then, with two metal spoons she would shape the dough into almond shaped cakes and fried them in an old black iron pan full of bubbling oil. She would serve them with black eye bean salad or a red kidney bean rice or as a party snack for our delight. As an adult I always enjoyed them in Summer, near the sea, with a glass of beer. As the sun is starting to poke out of the grey skies, I felt that it is time to start cooking codcakes and remind myself that the days of warmth near the water are near. For dessert I give you some pots of Sharon fruit, with port and topped with a disc of puff pastry. Delicious.
Saltcod cakes with a chilli dip
250g of shredded saltcod (de-salted)
250g of peeled potatoes
1 tablespoon of flour
1 small chopped onion
1 small bunch of parsley
salt & pepper
In two separate pans, boil the potatoes and the cod. Drain the two and set aside.
Place the potatoes in a bowl and mash them well. Add the cod, the chopped parsley, the chopped onion, the flour and the egg. Mix everything very well and season with salt & pepper. With two medal spoons shape the dough into individual cakes so that they take the shape of the spoon.
Place a pan with the vegetable oil onto a medium heat and fry the saltcod cakes till they are golden on each side. Place them on a tray with kitchen paper and serve warm with a chilli dip.
Sharon Fruit and Port Puffs
4 ripe Sharon fruits
300g of good quality puff pastry
3 tbsp of sugar
1 tbsp of Port wine (red)
Rind of 1 lemon
Pre-heat the oven at 190 ºC.
Peel the Sharon fruits and slice them in pieces. In a bowl mix the Sharon fruit, with the sugar, the port wine and the lemon grid.
Roll the puff pastry on a clean and slightly floured surface. Cut some discs of the same diameter of a ramekin
Fill some ramekins with this fruit mix and cover with a disc of puff pastry. Repeat the procedure till you finish the fruit/puff pastry. Brush with a beaten yolk and take them to the oven to cook for approximately 15 minutes, till the pastry has risen and is golden.