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Fried Cod Fish Ball Tapas - Bolas de Bacalao Frito

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Cod fish balls
Avlxyz/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0
"Bacalao" or salt cod is very popular in Spanish food and it is really delicious and versatile. These little fish balls are light, fluffy and practically melt in your mouth. Serve with "alioli" sauce (garlic mayonnaise) and/or "sofrito" (tomato sauce) for a unique and tasty appetizer.

Prep Time: 24 hours, 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 25 hours

Yield: 4-6 Servings as an Appetizer


  • 1 lb. salt cod
  • 2 potatoes
  • 1 to 1 1/4 cup milk
  • 6 green onions
  • 2-3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 2 eggs
  • flour for coating
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • olive oil for frying
  • salt to taste
  • lemon wedges


Rinse salt cod under cold water to remove any caked salt from the outside. Cut cod into small pieces – about 1 to 1.5 inches. This will help cod absorb the water. Place fish in a glass baking dish and cover with water. Place in refrigerator and soak for at least 24 hours, changing water 2-3 times.

Pour out water and place fish in a colander, rinsing the pieces of fish under the faucet. Allow to drain for 5 minutes, then pat dry with a paper towel and place on a plate.

Boil potatoes with skin until cooked (soft and tender). Run until cold water and when it is cool enough to touch, peel. Cut potatoes into pieces and mash with a fork in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.

Finely chop the green onions. Heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan and sauté half of the onions. Add milk and heat. Add cod and simmer on low for 10 approximately 10 minutes. Take pan off stove and use a fork to break fish into small flakes. Remove bones.

Add cod mixture to mashed potatoes and mix. Add rest of onions, parsley and nutmeg. Drizzle in 1-2 Tbsp olive oil, adding lemon juice to taste. Mix thoroughly.

Beat 1 egg in a small bowl. Mix into the cod-potato mixture, then refrigerate until mixture firms – about 30 minutes.

Beat 1 egg. Place breadcrumbs in a small bowl.

Remove cod mixture from refrigerator and shape into balls, then flatten slightly.

Pour 1/2 inch olive oil into a large frying pan and heat.

When oil is hot enough, roll each ball in breadcrumbs and dip in beaten egg. Fry over medium-high heat, until golden. Then, turn.

Remove balls from pan and drain on a paper towel.

Serve cod fritters with sofrito (tomato sauce) or alioli, Spanish garlic mayonnaise – or serve with both sauces!

Recipes for Sofrito and Alioli

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  6. Tapas - Fried Cod Fish Balls Recipe

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