Good Friday Parpuchas – Salt Cod Fritters

Today, even though we are in England, we kept up a tradition from Big Man’s family in Andalucia and made Parpuchas. Light, fluffy fritters of salt cod, parsley and garlic. Traditionally served (as we did) with a drizzle or a dunk of Miel de Caña (Molasses). It sounds odd but I promise you, the combination of sweet and salty really does work. If you don’t have access to salt cod (which you’ll have to desalt) this works well with any other firm raw fish.

Parpuchas 007

I will post the recipe below, but if you’d like to read the original post from a couple of years back and to see some of the traditions of Holy Week in Spain, do check out the original.

Ingredients

  • 200g (desalted) salt cod, shredded into small flakes
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 cup of flour (approx)
  • 2 large tablespoons of finely chopped parsley
  • 1 finely chopped or crushed clove of garlic
  • Salt to taste if you are not using salt cod
  • Oil for deep frying

Add the milk, bicarbonate, parsley, garlic and fish to the beaten eggs and then gradually add the flour until you have a thick batter.  It needs to be about the texture of thick lumpy custard (not that any of you, I am sure, have ever made lumpy custard!).

Heat the oil until a cube of stale bread turns brown quickly when dropped in and then drop spoonfuls of batter into the oil. I used a tablespoon and it gave me rather large parpuchas – I´d recommend using about half a tablespoon full as they will puff up slightly. When they are brown on the bottom (and they will float to the top), flip them over and cook on the other side. They will not be in the oil for long.

Remove with a slotted spoon, drain and sit them on kitchen paper for a few moments and serve hot, drizzled with Miel de Caña (to be typical) but also good with  lemon, alioli or tartare sauce. If you make too many, they are still very tasty cold as they retain their texture.

All that remains for me to say before we move into the rest of the Easter weekend is a very Happy and Peaceful Easter, or Happy Passover if that is what you celebrate, or a Happy Few Days with your loved ones. Watch out for those chocolate bunnies…..

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Hot Cross Buns for Good Friday

Hot cross buns,
Hot cross buns,
one ha’ penny,
two ha’ penny,
hot cross buns.

If you have no daughters,
give them to your sons,
one ha’ penny,
two ha’ penny,
Hot Cross Buns

So, Easter is upon us and Lenten fasting and abstinence for those who participate is soon at an end. One of the delights of this time of year when I lived in the UK was to eat Hot Cross Buns. They are sweet, spiced buns marked with a cross to commemorate the Crucifixion.

Finally...lovely buns!

Mad Dog did an excellent post last week about the same subject, and I wish I had gone to his recipe suggestions when I first decided to make some.  I have made them here in Spain a few times and I have several recipes…but do you think I could remember which one I had used?

First of all I tried Delia Smith´s recipe – aside from deciding to make the dough in my bread maker then forgetting it was in there on a bake programme…well, the result was a hugely over risen loaf that was raw in the middle.

Oh no Delia...you let me down!

Next up a Rachel Allen Recipe….they would have been good to use as missiles in a Mediaevel battle recreation.

Finally I turned to the BBC Good Food Website. Here is the original recipe, but my version is below as I found the dough a little too wet and I wanted more spices.

For the Dough

  • 300ml of full fat milk
  • 50g butter
  • 550g strong bread flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 1 x 7g sachet of easy blend yeast
  • 1 small egg, beaten
  • 75g sultanas
  • Up to 100g of chopped mix peel
  • Grated zest of half a lemon and one orange
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • ½ teaspoon of ground ginger

For the Cross

  • 4 tablespoons of flour gradually mixed with drops of water until a thick paste is made

For the Glaze

  • 4 tablespoons of sieved, warmed apricot jam

Bring the milk almost to the boil, drop the butter in and stir until the butter has melted and then put aside to cool to hand temperature.

In a bowl mix the flour, salt, yeast, spices and sugar and add the milk mixture and egg.  Mix with a wooden spoon, then with your hands then remove from the bowl and begin to knead. I still found it overly sticky but my egg was very large so I added small amounts of flour gradually until the dough was workable. Knead for about 5mins and then put into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a clean tea towel and leave to rise for about an hour or until doubled in size.

When risen, knock it back and add the fruits and peel, knead again and leave to rise a second time. This is not for people in a hurry!

After the second rise, knock the dough back again and dived into equal sized balls for the buns. The original recipe suggests 15, I got 24 good sized buns from my mix.

Place the buns, slightly spaced apart on lined baking trays, cover with tea towels and leave for another hour.

Heat the oven to 200 degrees C (the recipe says 220 but I did the first batch at this temp and the bottoms burnt slightly). Now you need to pipe the flour paste over the buns into crosses. I used a sandwich bag with a point cut off the end to do this.

Bake for about 15 minutes until golden and gorgeous. Warm the jam and brush over the still warm buns to glaze.

Enjoy as they are or split (toasted or not) with butter. Happy Easter to you All!

Parpuchas – Salt Cod Fritters

Salt cod is a typical Lenten Food in Spain. Whilst the country is not considered as strictly Roman Catholic as it once was, some traditions still remain.

This week is Holy Week, most towns and villages as well as the major cities join in the commemoration with what some might consider quite excessive displays of idolatory. I admit it´s not for me, and I find the penitents who carry the statues around dressed in outfits many of us associate with the Klu Klux Klan  quite disturbing, but I respect the traditions and am happy to join in the with eating and drinking.

Holy Week Procession in Ubeda April 2011
Barefoot Penitent

Parpuchas are known more widely as Tortitas de Bacalao, but they are a very typical dish of Andalucía.  This name may well just be specific to this area.

They are easy to make and if you don´t have de-salted salt cod, fresh cod or any other firm fish would still give you some tasty fritters.  Here they are typically served with Miel de Caña, or Molasses, in the same way as Berenjenas Fritas (Fried Aubergines),but if you prefer lemon…well, I won´t tell anyone!

To make about 15 large fritters or 20 smaller ones

  • 200g salt cod, shredded into small flakes
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 cup of flour (approx)
  • 2 large tablespoons of finely chopped parsley
  • 1 finely chopped or crushed clove of garlic
  • Salt to taste if you are not using salt cod
  • Oil for deep frying

Add the milk, bicarbonate, parsley, garlic and fish to the beaten eggs and then gradually add the flour until you have a thick batter.  It needs to be about the texture of thick lumpy custard (not that any of you, I am sure, have ever made lumpy custard!).

Heat the oil until a cube of stale bread turns brown quickly when dropped in and then drop spoonfuls of batter into the oil. I used a tablespoon and it gave me rather large parpuchas – I´d recommend using about half a tablespoon full as they will puff up slightly. When they are brown on the bottom (and they will float to the top), flip them over and cook on the other side. They will not be in the oil for long.

Remove with a slotted spoon, drain and sit them on kitchen paper for a few moments and serve hot, drizzled with Miel de Caña (to be typical) but also good with  lemon or tartare sauce. If you make too many, they are still very tasty cold as they retain their texture.