Bolinhos de bacalhau (codfish balls)

Yield: 6 To 8

Measure Ingredient
1 pounds Salt Cod
1 small Onion; thinly sliced
1 Bayleaf
4 Whole Peppercorns
2 cups Potatoes; cooked and mashed
⅛ teaspoon Salt
¼ teaspoon Freshly ground Black Pepper
2 Whole Eggs; slightly beaten
2 tablespoons Fresh Parsley; finely chopped
Vegetable or Canola Oil for frying

The Cook & Kitchen Staff are taking you to four different corners of the world to serve up a variety of regional holiday specialties. We're starting our Christmas collection with a brief jaunt to Brazil, where the holidays are a very festive time of the year.

Skip the snow shovels and frost-painted windows; it's summertime south of the equator, and the average temperature demands that lunch be served on the beach and or as a picnic in the park. It's the time of the year to visit with friends and celebrate the coming new year. Today's recipe is just the sort of appetizer you may find served to guests in a Brazilian home right now.

Portuguese in origin and deeply rooted in Brazil's history, today's recipe remains an extremely popular dish during the holidays in Brazil. Portuguese being the language of Brazil means that you can prepare today's recipe and greet your guests with "Feliz Natal" at the door and put the kids to work in the kitchen with you as they attempt to produce their best behavior awaiting a visit for Papai Noel.

Soak salt cod overnight, making sure to rinse and change the water at least three times. Remove skin and any bones. Cut salt cod into small chunks.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, heat 2 cups of water with the thinly sliced onion, bayleaf, and peppercorns. Add the cod and an additional 2 cups of water to the saucepan and poach the cod until it's no longer transparent, about 5 minutes after the hot water has returned to a light rolling boil. (You may elect to refrigerate the cod in the liquid mixture until you're ready to prepare your Bolinhos de Bacalhau.) To form the bolinhos, drain the fish and flake it into a large mixing bowl.

Add the mashed potatoes, eggs, salt, pepper, and parsley. Mix well with freshly cleaned hands or a wooden spoon. Wait about half an hour for the ingredients to diffuse their flavor and to form the balls. Roll small portions of the mixture into balls about 1½-inches in diameter.

In a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat, warm oil for frying to 375-F degrees. Fry the cod balls in the oil until golden, and remove to paper towels to drain excess oil. Serve warm with a cold beverage.

Kitchen Staff Tips: Today's recipe is the most basic version of Bolinhos de Bacalhau in our recipe files. You may elect to spice up the flavor with a half-cup of thinly sliced onions, or sweet peppers, or both. This appetizer is also sometimes prepared with a bit of minced olives or dried tomatoes, so don't be afraid to add a splash of flavor and color to the potato and cod mixture before frying. Salt cod may be challenging to find. Try at a fish specialty market or international specialty store.

Posted to dailyrecipe@... by Recipe-a-Day <recipe-a-day@...> on Dec 1, 1998, converted by MM_Buster v2.0l.

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