Bakaliaros skordalia (salt cod fritters with bread garlic sauce) is sort of greek national institution. You have it on National Day and Palm Sunday, both in spring. You associate it with blue sky, parades and childhood memories – until you have to carry your own toddler to the parade.
The deep fried bakaliaros and the garlic in skordalia make a tastebomb. It is also a game theory dish. Equilibrium is reached when everybody have it and can bear each other’s garlic consumption.
We like to have it the whole year round and for some time we were in the quest for the perfect recipe. After experiments involving soda siphons Blumenthal style, I think we found our definite answer to bakaliaro perfection in an adaptation of Argiro Barbarigou’s recipe. Here it is:
For the salt cod fritters (bakaliaros)
- 1kg salt cod fillet, desalted
- 260g all purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 330ml beer
- 20ml ouzo
- olive oil for frying
To desalt the cod (24-36 hours in advance)
Rinse the excess salt from the cod, place in a large bowl, cover it with cold water and soak for 24-36 hours, changing the water every 6-8 hours.After the first 24 hours keep refrigerated. As soon as it is ready, dry well the fish with paper towels, remove the skin and all the bones and shred it finely with your hands. Keep refrigerated until needed.
(To avoid all this, you can always buy a deep frozen desalted cod. All you need is to defrost, remove the skin and finely shred it.)
To prepare the batter (1-2 hours in advance)
In a bowl combine the flour,salt, sugar and baking powder. Add the beer and the ouzo and whisk until everything is weldl combined. Add 2 ice cubes and refrigerate for 1-2 hours before using.
Mix the cod with the batter.
Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot spoon the battered cod mix in the hot oil and fry for 2 minutes on each side until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Fry the cod fritters in batches, so that the surface of the pan is comfortably filled.
Serve with the traditional greek skordalia (garlic bread sauce).
For the skordalia
- 500g white bread, crusts removed, soaked in water and squeezed (1 or 2 days old sourdough bread works better for this recipe)
- 6-8 cloves garlic, peeled
- 200 ml extra virgin olive oil
- 3-4 Tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1 small pinch of salt
In a food processor combine the squeezed bread with the garlic, vinegar and salt. Blend, while adding the oil drop by drop, until the mixture becomes smooth.