Salt Cod & Potato Croquettes, Red Pepper Coulis (Originally published in Plats du Jour; the girl & the fig’s Journey Through the Seasons in Wine Country.)
Croquettes are nice option for a bite that will retain both its texture and temperature at a party. When using salt cod, make sure ou rinse it very well to get rid of some of the excess salt. Be cautious when seasoning the mixture, as the salt cod will have enough salt to balance the potato. Keep in mind this is a 2-day recipe. It’s not complicated but you will need time to soak the salt cod.
(Note: this is published in Plats du Jour as a recipe for party bites, but I’d have no guilt at all eating this for supper on a winter evening!)
For the salt cod:
8 ounces boneless salt cod
3 cups whole milk
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
5 garlic cloves
1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
2 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups panko
2 cups blended oil
For the coulis:
2 red peppers
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
To prepare the cod:
Submerge the salt cod in a large container of cold water and refrigerate for at least 24 hours, changing the water every 8 hours.
Drain the cod and place it in a medium saucepan with the milk, thyme, bay leaf, and garlic. Simmer the cod on medium heat for 25 minutes or until the fish flakes.
Remove the fish, reserving the poaching liquid, and add the potatoes to the pan. Discard the thyme and bay leaf. Add a touch more milk to cover the potatoes if needed. Simmer for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are soft. Place the cooked potatoes in a bowl and add the flaked fish, egg yolk, parsley, and a little bit of the reserved poaching liquid to soften the mixture. Mix well and let the mixture cool for at least one hour.
Whisk the eggs in a bowl until they become light and pale.
Form the salt cod mixture into 30 equal sized balls (about the size of a ping pong ball).
Place the flour, egg mixture, and panic in three separate shallow bowls. Dip each ball in the flour, then the egg mixture, and the the panic.
Set a deep fryer to 375 degrees (a deep saucepan filled with blended oil will work as well as a deep fryer) and fry the croquettes golden brown, about 3-5 minutes. Transfer them to a paper towel to drain the excess oil and season with salt. Set aside.
To prepare the coulis:
Heat a broiler to high. Lightly coat the red peppers with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and season them with salt and pepper. Place them under the broiler turning them occasionally until blackened on all sides. Place them in a bowl and cover them with plastic wrap until cool enough to handle but not cold. Peel the peppers, discarding the skins and seeds, but reserving the pepper “liquor.”
In a food processor, puree the peppers with the remaining olive oil, shallot, garlic, vinegar, and butter. Puree until smooth and season carefully with salt and pepper to taste (you don’t want too much salt).
Place a small dollop of the coulis on each plate and top with the croquettes.