Pasteis de Bacalhau (Portuguese Codfish Fritters)

This recipe has been adapted from Savoring Spain and Portugal cookbook, by Williams Sonoma. These are a traditional appetizer in Portugal and made in an oval shape, however, I prefer to make them round, similar to a mini-meatball.

Pasteis de Bacalhau


  • 1 lb. boneless bacalhau
  • 4 large organic potatoes, peeled
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 organic eggs, beaten
  • handful of fresh parsley, chopped
  • pinch of cayenne pepper and black pepper


  1. Soak bacalhau, over 2 days, refreshing the water twice a day, to remove excess salt.
  2. Cook bacalhau and potatoes over medium heat, for 20 minutes, until cooked. Remove from water.
  3. Mash potatoes and shred bacalhau, until very fine. I prefer using my hands (traditional) but you can also use a food processor.
  4. In saucepan, over low-medium heat, cover bottom of pan with olive oil and saute onion until softened. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for 3 minutes longer, being sure not to brown garlic. Add mixture to potatoes and bacalhau.
  5. Fold in eggs and parsley. Season with black pepper and cayenne pepper. Mix well. Mixture should be firm (similar to mashed poatoes) and able to hold its shape.
  6. Roll into mini-meatball size balls with palms of hands. This is very sticky and messy so it’s best to make six at a time and then wash hands before making the next batch. Deep fry in canola oil over medium-high heat, until golden brown.
  7. Serve at room temperature.

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