Filetti di baccalà fritti
"My longtime friend Viola Buitoni is a chef instructor in San Francisco and one of the best cooks I know. Enjoy her recipes!" - Franluca
For 4 to 5 filetti
1 pound skinless and boneless salt cod fillets
1 teaspoon fresh OR a generous 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
2 tablespoons lukewarm milk (if using fresh yeast)
OR pinch sugar (if using dry yeast)
1/2 pound all purpose flour
Rinse off the excess salt from the cod and soak it in cold water for 3 days changing the water 4 times a day. Strain from the soaking water and dry well. Cut in fillets 1” wide and 4” long and dry them well.
If using fresh yeast, dilute it in the milk and mix into a paste. If using dry active yeast, place it in a small bowl with a tablespoon of room temperature water and a tiny pinch of sugar. It will grow into a bubbly blob. Stir the blob into a paste.
Season the flour with salt in a bowl and mix in the yeast. Whisk in the water in a steady stream until you reach a thickish and smooth consistency.
To test the batter, perform this test: lift the whisk, thread the batter over the bowl. The threads of batter should “write”: think of the batter in the bowl as a sheet and the whisk as a pen: the pen leaves a trace and the sheet stays flat, it does not part to swallow that trace, rather the trace just kind of disappears after a couple of seconds.
If no trace is left, the batter is too liquid and needs some flour. If the sheet parts to swallow the writing, the batter is too thick and can be fixed with a bit of water.
Once you are satisfied with the batter, cover it and set it aside to rest at room temperature to let the yeast can work its magic.
In a shallow, wide saucepan heat a generous amount of oil to approximately 330˚F. Dredge the cod pieces in the batter until they are completely coated.
Carefully drop in the heated oil to deep fry. Keep turning them over and sploshing oil over them. Watch the coating of batter puff and cook until it has no wet spots.
Turn up the heat to impart crunchiness and a lovely golden color to the fillets. Drain over paper towels and serve while still warm.
as first published on
Viola's Italian Kitchen