food, Recipes

Salt Cod Pintxos

William Meppem


for the fish

20g sea-salt flakes

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

2t thyme, finely chopped

finely grated rind of 1 lemon

200g blue-eye trevalla, cut into 5cm chunks

300g potatoes, coarsely chopped

cold water

1½T olive oil, plus extra for shallow flying

1 small onion, finely diced

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

350ml milk

2T flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped, plus extra leaves to serve

2T oregano, finely chopped, plus extra leaves to serve

1t smoked paprika

finely grated rind and juice of 1½ lemons

1 egg white, whisked to firm peaks

salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

vegetable oil, for frying

1 baguette, thinly sliced

sherry vinegar, for drizzling

extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

for the romesco

1 vine-ripened tomato, quartered

1 red pepper, quartered

1 garlic head, halved

2T olive oil

25g crustless sourdough bread, coarsely torn

20g roasted hazelnuts

1½T sherry vinegar, or to taste

1T lemon juice, or to taste

½t sweet paprika

salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


To prepare the fish, combine the salt, garlic, thyme and lemon rind in a non-reactive container, add the fish, and stir to coat well. Refrigerate the fish for 12 hours to cure it.

To prepare the romesco, preheat the oven to 200˚C.

Place the tomato, red pepper and garlic on an oven tray, drizzle one tablespoon of the olive oil on top, and roast for 25 to 30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. When they are cool enough to handle, squeeze the garlic cloves from the skins (discard the skins), then transfer the garlic, tomato, red pepper and pan juice to a food processor.

Add the bread, hazelnuts, vinegar, lemon juice and paprika, and process for one to two minutes until the mixture is smooth. With the motor still running, slowly add the remaining oil and process until it has emulsified. Season to taste, then refrigerate the sauce for one to two hours to allow the flavours to develop.

To continue preparing the fish, bring the potato and enough cold water to cover it generously to the boil in a saucepan and cook for 10 to 12 minutes or until the potato is tender. Drain the saucepan and mash the potato with a fork. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a small saucepan, add the onion and garlic and cook for four to five minutes, stirring occasionally, until they are tender, then add this to the mashed potato.

Rinse the fish under cold, running water, then bring it to a simmer in a small saucepan with the milk and poach it for two to three minutes until it had just cooked through. Remove the fish, coarsely flake it, and add it to the potato mixture with the herbs, paprika, and lemon juice and rind. Fold the whisked egg white through the potato, season it to taste and set it aside.

Heat three centimetres of oil in a large, deep frying pan over a medium-high heat.

Add tablespoons of the potato mixture to the oil in batches and shallow-fry them, turning them occasionally, until they are golden. It should take two to three minutes per batch and be careful as you fry them because the hot oil will spit. Drain the fritters on absorbent paper and keep them warm.

To serve, drizzle a couple of drops each of sherry vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil on to the baguette slices, spread romesco on top and top with a fritter. Skewer the pintxos with a toothpick and serve them warm with extra herbs sprinkled on top. SERVES 6–8 AS A SNACK

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