How to Make Fried Bacalao

Bacalao is dried cod that has been preserved with salt. Fried Bacalao is not a very popular dish in the United States, but you might have tried it at a Spanish or Cuban restaurant in your area. It’s also eaten in many different countries in Europe, so you might have tried it while on vacation. 

If you are trying to find Bacalao, you might want to try the local Italian or Spanish shops in your city. You can also order it online from many different suppliers. Fried Bacalao is easy to make and has a long shelf life since it’s dried. 

Some Things You Need to Know About Fried Bacalao

Fried Bacalao is similar to fish and chips, but it has a better flavor and is not as heavy or greasy as regular fish and chips. If you are wanting fried fish that is light and not too salty, you should check out Fried Bacalao. 

Tips for Making Fried Bacalao

Always soak before cooking

Since bacalao has been dried, it needs to be rehydrated before you start cooking or it will be very salty. It’s recommended that you soak it overnight to get the best flavor. If the pieces are very thin though, you can only soak them for about 12 hours. Never skip soaking as you will end up with fish that is too salty to really enjoy. 

Pat the fish dry

Once you have soaked the fish for enough time and feel that it’s not salty anymore, you need to make sure to pat it dry. Remove as much of the water as you can before cutting it into small pieces. 

The type of flour makes a difference 

The type of flour you use when frying the fish makes a big difference. It’s also important that you don’t pre-measure the flour as you never really know how much you might need. Always add more flour to adjust the consistency, so start with a small amount of flour and then add more if needed. 

Ingredients for Fried Bacalao

Now that you know what bacalao is and some important tips for making it, you can gather the ingredients and get started. Before the day you want to make the fish though, make sure you have presoaked the fish in water for 18 to 36 hours. 

The fish needs to be completely submerged during the soaking process, so make sure you put it in a bowl big enough for the whole fish to be under the water. Change the water 2 or 3 times during the day that you have it soaking. 

You can leave the fish in the water on a counter. It doesn’t need to be in the fridge. 

Besides your pre-soaked bacalao, here are the ingredients you need:

  • Flour 
  • 1 tablespoon milk 
  • ½ cup of water (you might need more if your fish is larger or you are frying multiple fish)
  • A large pinch of salt 
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda 
  • Oil for frying, any oil is fine 

Preparing and Frying the Fish 

Remove your fish from the water. Rinse it well and then pat it dry with a clean paper towel or napkin. Remove as much of the water as you can. Cut the fish into smaller pieces so that it’s easier to fry. 

Prepare the batter by mixing the milk, water, salt, and baking soda into a large bowl. Add the flour in just one tablespoon at a time to avoid adding in too much. Whisk until you find the right consistency. It should be thin without lumps, but not runny. If you don’t whisk, it will not become the right consistency. Stirring with a spoon or fork will not be enough. 

Now you are ready to fry the fish. Heat the oil in a pan over medium-high heat and wait for it to become hot. Dip the fish into the batter and make sure it has a thick layer on both sides. 

Place the fish into the hot oil and fry until it’s cooked all the way through. It should take about 5 minutes unless the fish you have is very thick. Put the fish on a paper towel to soak up some of the oil before serving. 

Final Thoughts 

Fried Bacalao is an easy dish to make and it tastes great. Bacalao is also one of the best fish to fry because it doesn’t get too greasy or salty like some other fish you might have had in the past. 

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