1 pound dried salted codfish
1 Tbsp. pickling spice
1 stick butter, melted + 4 Tbsp. butter
1 cup finely chopped onions
1 cup finely chopped green onions
1/2 cup celery
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
4 cloves minced garlic
4 cups chopped cooked potatoes, small dice
3 raw eggs, beaten
Frank Davis Seafood Seasoning to taste
1 tsp. dill
2 cups seasoned bread crumbs
1 cup peanut oil for frying
1 stick butter for frying
The first thing you do is take the salted cod, place it in a non-reactive baking pan, and soak it in cold water for about four hours in your refrigerator, changing and discarding the water every hour or so. You’ll know the fish is ready for the next step in the recipe when it has softened (actually re-hydrated)—continue the soaking process until it does.
Next, wrap the softened, de-salted cod in a layer of cheese cloth, place it in a pot of boiling water (to which you’ve added about a tablespoon of pickling spice), and cook it over medium-low heat for about 25 to 30 minutes or until the fish flakes easily.
Then pour off the water, remove the cheesecloth, and let the cod drain well.
Now, in a 12-inch non-stick skillet, melt the butter over medium heat and lightly sauté the vegetable medley—onions, green onions, celery, parsley, and garlic.
Then while the veggies are sautéing, shred the codfish into small flakes with a fork.
Then in a large mixing bowl, blend the seasoning vegetables and the flaked codfish together.
When they are mixed well, gradually begin adding the potatoes and “fold” them into the codfish mix (keep in mind that the blending goes better if the potatoes are still hot when they’re folded into the fish.)
At this point, very quickly stir in the eggs until the total consistency is uniform; then season the mixture with the seafood seasoning and the dill (but watch the salt—if you didn’t get it all out the cod during the soaking process, you could end up with a dish that’s too salty!)
Now’s the time when you wet your hands and begin forming “codfish balls”—ideally, they should be about the diameter of a drink coaster and a little less than a half-inch thick.
As the patties are shaped, lightly dredge them in the seasoned bread crumb mix and place them aside on waxed paper to “set” for about a half-hour. (Actually, you can make them as far as a day in advance and keep them in the refrigerator.)
Finally, when you’re ready to eat, combine a couple of tablespoons of both peanut oil and butter in a non-stick skillet, bring it up to medium-high heat, and pan-sauté the codfish balls a few at a time—on both sides—until they turn a crusty golden brown.
It would be a mortal sin not to serve them piping hot, topped with a sauce made with buttered creamed peas and accompanied by a stack of sautéed onion rings and a plate of cold sliced tomatoes..
So where do you buy salted cod? In New Orleans you can find it at Central Grocery on Decatur Street as well as at Nor-Joe Imports in Metairie. Elsewhere across the country, simply look in the telephone directory for an old-tyme Italian grocery—they’ll have it as bacala.
If you want to serve codfish balls traditionally, the old fashioned way is to take two slices of white bread, slather them with Blue Plate mayonnaise, slap a codfish ball between the slices, open a Barq’s Root Beer, and chow down! Dat’s da whole meal!
Another little hint—if you’d rather use something other than salted cod, some markets offer fresh cod in their seafood cases. Follow the recipe above, only eliminate the soaking process. Oh—and it’s perfectly okay to make this recipe using poached white trout, drum, sheepshead, croakers, flounder, and channel mullet instead of cod.