Aibonito, PR- Bacalaitos (Cod Fish Fritters)

Aibonito is the perfect place to follow the Hibiscus Blog. Aibonito is known for its “festival de las flores” (Festival of flowers). Here is some Taino dialect for you- Indian Cacique- Chief, yucayeque- tribe, Bacalao is one of my favorite dishes. It is usually boiled and put in a salad dressed in olive oil and served with root vegetables- yuca, yame and boiled green plantains (guineo). Today I’m showing you how to make bacalaitos- a fried treat usually sold for a dollar in NYC. (everything good is fried) Paula Deen uses butter Puerto Ricans fry it up!!!

Bacalaitos

Mise en place- Frying pan, chef’s knife or a food processor, spatula or tongs for turning, sauce pan, 3 oz ladle

Ingredients-
1 bacalao filet
1c flour
2 c water
1/2 red pepper
1/2 Spanish Onion (this is the white onion with a yellowish skin)
1 garlic clove
1 package sazon
dash of baking soda- to keep fresh
Seasonings to taste
Vegetable oil for frying

In your sauce pan boil water- this water should be enough to boil the bacalao for about 1 hr. this takes a lot of the salt out.
When the water boils put in the bacalao.

In your food processor put your onion, pepper and garlic- pulse it until it resembles a small dice.

Put the flour in a large bowl and add seasoning- sazon, garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper

Add water in small quantities ( you can always add but you cant really take out). This needs to be a very thin batter, a little thinner than pancakes. The heavier the batter it the longer it takes to fry and it will absorb too much oil. Thinner ones come out very crispy. (mmMMmmmMm)

To the flour water mixture add the chopped veggies and mix in. Take your bacalao out of the water and pat dry. Shred it up with your fingers or a fork

Get out your fry pan and put enough veg oil to cover the bottom completely and a bit more. You can test the oil by dropping 1 drop of the batter into the oil, if i rises quickly you are ready to go.

Get your ladle and quickly ladle the batter into the oil. The batter should spread quickly and rise or float on the oil. Once it looks cooked through out (the whole bacalaito should now be a light yellow all over, if your batter is too thick in the middle the middle will be a darker yellow almost orange). If your batter was too thick now is the time to add a bit more water. turn it over and brown the other side. Once golden brown set on a plate lined with paper towels and once drained serve. You will get the best taste right after frying. If you need to store these and reheat, reheat them in a toaster oven so they do not get rubbery.