One Saturday night, Brent and I watched episode after episode of Anthony Bourdain’s show, A Cook’s Tour. I was nearly asleep when episode 7 of season 1, “Cod Crazy,” began. Anthony was traveling in Portugal, where salted cod has a historical and cultural significance. I woke up at the word cod. It caught my attention because just that afternoon we had bought cod. We didn’t have the slightest idea of what to do with it.

Bacalhau, or salted cod, was a staple for the Portuguese sailors when refrigeration was not an option. There were quite a few dishes–all of which were steeped in rich tradition–mentioned in the episode, but the one that piqued my interest most was Bacalaítos Fritos, salted cod fritters. Now, we didn’t have salted cod. We had “fresh.” (That is, as fresh as wild caught cod from Costco can be.) 😉

I did a little research before falling asleep and the next day, while Brent was at work, I dove into my experiment. I’ll admit, I was nervous. I don’t normally cook without Brent. But I think this worked out really well. The true mark of my success: Brent loved them! We hope you will too.


1/2 tsp red chili paste
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp coconut vinegar
1 lb cod fillet
2 large eggs
1/4 cup scallion, thinly dropped
1 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 Tbsp dijon mustard
2 Tbsp onion, minced
3/4 cup almond flour
1/2 cup sweet potato
6 – 8 cups of water
3 – 4 cups extra light olive oil for deep frying

First, boil the sweet potato with the skin on until it’s soft. Then, allow it to cool completely.


While the sweet potato cools, bring water and coconut vinegar in wide pot or deep frying pan to a simmer.


Poach fish until opaque and flakey. Let it cool and then flake the cod into tiny bits with a fork.


Rice the sweet potato. Measure out 1/2 cup of the riced sweet potato and put the rest away for future consumption in some other way.


Mix the eggs, scallion, parsley, mustard, onion, almond flour, the 1/2 cup of riced sweet potato, red chili paste, salt and pepper.


Form mixtures into small fritter shapes with a spoon and your hand. (Go ahead! Get a little messy.)  Chill the fritters in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.


Heat your oil to 360ºF in a pot. Deep fry a few fritters at a time for 5 to 7 minutes.  This takes a few batches, but don’t worry–it’s worth it.  (Several of you have asked about baking these fritters—my suggestion would be 15-20 minutes at 400ºF.  We haven’t tried this ourselves yet, but it seems consistent with most baked fish recipes.  If you try it, let us know!)


Allow to cool and serve alone or with your favorite tartar sauce (we haven’t made one yet, but once we do, we’ll update here with a link!).

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  1. These look so delicious! I might try them with a different white fish. I’m also wondering if it would be possible to bake or pan fry these as patty shapes instead of frying. I’m not a big fan of frying, plus I don’t have a thermometer.


    1. I think baking is a great alternative; I’m just not sure the you’d get the same texture. If you try it, let us know how you like it. I need to try it that way as well. Deep frying requires a lot of oil; if I can get the same effect without buying the jumbo container of light oil at the store, I’m in!


  2. These look so good! I never in a million years would have thought to do this with fish. I just usually cook it as a filet. The flavor combo sounds amazing. I pretty much have everything needed so I’ll be trying these soon. Yum! Great job, Heather!


  3. I love saltfish cakes (as we ppl from the English speaking Caribbean call it). We make ours a different way but I’m excited to try your recipe! They look soooooo delicious!


  4. Pastéis de Bacalhau! That is the real name of the dish! Portuguese love their “bacalhau”. It’s rare to find fresh cod in Portugal 🙂


    1. I’m not sure. We don’t normally like to deep fry either–in fact, this was our first time trying it. Go ahead and trying baking them, and then let us know how it turns out! 🙂


  5. I made these tonight for dinner and simply pan fried them in a skillet with a couple tablespoons of evoo. Yummmmmmmmmmmmm! I made them more like cod cakes, but really great. Chopped up some great dill pickles and mixed them into homemade paleo mayo for tartar sauce. Thank you for giving me a lively addition to dinner!


  6. I was at a restaurant and had short rib fritters/ tried to find a recipe. This is the only thing that came close do I substituted leftover rib meat for the fish and made a beef version!


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