Sunday, April 30, 2017

2017 CFE Saltfish Blogger Challenge...Feature Salt Cod-Corn Fritters with Spicy Lemon Aioli #saltfish #bacalao #Cristobal

Have you ever cooked with salted cod...also known as bacalao? Until this weekend, I had not tasted or cooked with salted, preserved cod fish. I'm taking part in the 2017 CFE Saltfish Blogger Recipe Challenge, where I decided to create a fantastic appetizer using this new-to-me ingredient. As part of the contest, I received three packages of Cristobal salted cod fillets to facilitate recipe development. Salted cod is -- as the name indicates -- salted to preserve freshness. It must be soaked in water in your fridge for 24 hours before using, with the water being changed ever 4-6 hours. This reduces most of the saltiness, leaving just enough to salt to ensure the cod is seasoned all the way through. Once soaked, the salt code is poached in a bit of water to cook it through. Then, it can be used in a wide range of seafood-based recipes. 

I used the tasty Cristobal salt cod I received to create my Salt Cod-Corn Fritters with Spicy Lemon Aioli. They're made with convenient packaged cornbread mix that's flavored with kernel corn, green onion, spices, and a generous helping of flaked salt cod. They're fried up similar to hush puppies and sprinkled with your favorite spicy Cajun seasoning. Then, they're served with quick-to-make spicy lemon aioli on the side for dipping. These hearty appetizers are a perfect finger food to enjoy as you watch the NBA playoffs in the coming weeks. They'd also work great as a delicious accompaniment the next time you fry up some shrimp or fish. Remember that you'll need to prep the salt cod 24 hours in advance, so be sure to plan ahead for that extra time. However, once that initial step is complete? The actual time to prepare the fritters and aioli is only about 30 minutes. 

Salt Cod-Corn Fritters with Spicy Lemon Aioli
a Weekend Gourmet original
Ingredients (makes 1 dozen fritters):
  • 6-ounce package cornbread mix
  • 1 cup flaked Cristobal brand salt cod, soaked and poached 
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 tbs. Creole seasoning
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
  • Canola oil for frying
For the aioli:
  • 1/2 cup good-quality mayonnaise
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tsp. finely chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp. Creole seasoning
  • 1 tsp. hot sauce [NOTE: I used Garlic Tabasco)
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce 
Step 1: A day before you plan to make the fritters, prep the Cristobel salt cod. Cover the fillets with water and soak in the fridge for 24 hours, changing the water every 4-6 hours. After the salt cod has been soaked, poach it in a shallot pan of water for 10-15 minutes -- do not boil or it will toughen the fish. Drain, cool slightly, and flake the cod.
Step 2: Make the aioli by adding the mayonnaise, lemon juice, parsley, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and Creole seasoning in a small bowl. Stir to combine and spoon the aioli into a small ramekin. Set aside in the fridge until you're ready to serve the fritters.
Step 3: Add the cornbread mix, flaked poached Cristobal salt cod, eggs, milk, Creole seasoning, green onion, and corn to a large mixing bowl. Stir until everything is evenly combined into a chunky batter. Heat 2 inches of oil in a skillet with high sides over medium-high heat until hot -- approximately 5 minutes.
Step 4: When the oil is hot, use a cookie scoop to scoop six servings of the fritter batter into the hot oil. Cook on one side until golden -- approximately 2-3 minutes. Use a spatula to flip the fritters over and cook an additional 2-3 minutes. Repeat with the other half of the batter. Drain the cooked fritters on a plate lined with paper towels and sprinkle with additional Creole seasoning. Plate on a serving platter with the chilled spicy lemon aioli for dipping.
These little fritters are bursting with flavor! They're crispy outside and slightly moist inside -- with a perfect amount of salt and spice. The flakes of lightly salty cod, kernels of sweet corn, and green onions provide a nice bit of texture and flavor in every bite. The tangy zip of the creamy, spicy lemon aioli is a perfect dipper for these hush puppy-like fritters. Both components worked very nicely together. This was my first time cooking with salt cod, but it definitely won't be my last!

I hope you'll get your hands on some salt cod soon and give my fun little corn fritters a try. CFE International seafood products can be purchased at major retailers across the U.S., including: Kroger, Brookshire Brothers, H-E-B, Fiesta, Food Town, H-Mart, and Los Altos Ranch Market. Want to learn more about Cristobal salt cod -- and other great CFE International products? Then be sure to follow their social channels:
When you visit CFE's social channels, you'll find news, recipes...and so much more. I thoroughly enjoyed broadening my culinary horizons by taking part in CFE's 2017 Saltfish Blogger Challenge -- and I hope that I've inspired you to give salted cod a try for yourself!

Disclosure: CFI provided me with three packages of Cristobal salt cod to facilitate my participation in their 2017 Saltfish Blogger Challenger. All opinions shared are solely my own.

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