This is my ultimate comfort food!
My grandmother is Italian and this is her recipe for 'frittelle di baccala'.
These were always the highlight of Christmas dinner at my grandmas house. The entire family calls them fishballs and my grandma always had them out on the counter to snack on while she cooked. They are incredible and the most nostalgic food for me. My cousin Jenny makes them for the family now and I make them for Christmas and special occasions in Japan. Everyone who eats them over here asks for the recipe.
I remember watching my dad inhale these when I was younger and then stopping them cold turkey one year. It was so weird! I asked my grandma why and she said while laughing:
"Honey, he didn't know they had fish in them! Your father hates fish, so I didn't tell him. What's a matter with him?"
Hilarious! My old man was in his 40's at the time and eating these things his whole life!
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Step 1: Ingredients!
1. Cod fish or white fish- 500g / 1.1lbs
2. All purpose flour- 4 cups
3. Yeast- 2 1/4 tsp (1pkg)
4. Salt- 1 tbsp
5. Warm water- 2 1/2 cups
1. Olive oil- 1tbsp
2. Anchovies- 35g / 1.3oz
3.One can of diced tomatoes + 1/4 can water
Baccala is dried and salted cod fish, but you don't need to use it for this recipe...you should if you can find it and my grandma thinks I use it, but it's not available in my area of Japan. Don't tell my grams y'all!
1. Soak it in water for 4 hours
2. Drain it
3. Cover with fresh water and boil for about 20 minutes until tender
4. Drain and flake. The bones are easily removed, but make sure you get them all.
You can use any white fish in this recipe. Fish like cod, pollock and haddock are not safe to eat raw. I live in Japan 'land of sushi and sashimi' and you'll never find these served that way. Sure, the oil will probably do the job but I recommend cooking it first. The cooking process makes it easy to flake it too.
Fun fact, 'Baka' is a derogatory word in Japanese.
Step 2: The Dough!
In a large bowl:
-Add the yeast to the warm water and let it sit for three minutes.
-Next add the flour and salt and then mix with a spatula.
The dough should be 'loose' but not runny. It should be thick enough to stick to the spatula and loose enough to slowly drip off.
If the dough is runny, add flour until it becomes this consistency.
*The dough will double in size, so use a bowl big enough to hold this amount of dough.
Step 3: Let It Rise!
Soak a hand towel large enough to cover the entire bowl in hot water and then ring it out.
Place the towel over the dough and let it rise for two hours.
The dough should double in size.
Step 4: The Cod Fish!
The easiest way to prepare the fish for the dough is to microwave it.
*The fish needs to be thawed before microwaving. Please don't microwave frozen fish.
Place the fish in a microwavable bowl and cover with microwave safe saran wrap or a lid.
Microwave on medium (600W) for 6 minutes.
Let the fish cool, drain the water, and then break up the fish into bits.
*If your fish has bones, remove the bones after microwaving the fish with chopsticks.
Step 5: Add the Fish to the Dough!
When the dough is ready, add the fish to it and mix it with a spatula.
Step 6: Fry the Frittelle!
Deep fry in cooking oil at about 170 C/ 340 F
Carefully drop in large scoops of dough. Use a large spoon or a tbsp.
Let them fry for a couple minutes to a golden brown color and then move them to a rack or place them on cooking paper towels in a tray. The frittelle will continue to cook after being removed from the oil, so don't check them right away.
You'll need to trust that they're cooked by the color. You can try frying just one at first and waiting a couple minutes for it to cool down. Open it up and if you're happy this is your frying time.
They should be light and fluffy with a crust!
Step 7: Anchovy Sauce!
1. Add the 1 tbsp of olive oil to a warm sauce pot.
2. Add the anchovies and anchovy oil to the oil
3. Stir until the anchovies are broken up into bits
4. Add the can of diced tomatoes and 1/4 can full of water
Bring the sauce to a boil while stirring and drop it to a simmer
Simmer the sauce for 20 minutes.
Step 8: Eat!
There you have it!
These are the best!
Runner Up in the
Comfort Food Challenge