Pastéis de Bacalhau
Among Portugal’s thousand recipes for codfish, the Pastéis de Bacalhau (literally codfish pastries, but known in English as codfish fritters) are a typical Portuguese dish made of potato puree, onion, parsley and steamed codfish amassed together in a ball and linked with eggs and milk, and then deep-fried.
They’re said to have burst into local culture in the late 18th century, during Queen Mary’s reign when she promoted the use and cultivation of potato (brought from the new world – the Americas), which is likely why one of the first known recipes was found in a book belonging to the Viscount of Vilarinho de São Romão, son of one of the biggest potato producers in the country.
Served everywhere from the most modest to high-end restaurants, the Pastéis de Bacalhau have made their way through Portugal and most of western Europe; Spain, France (where they’re served spicy) and Italy, but also to Brazil, where they’re mostly served today in Portuguese restaurants.
In Lisbon, one of our favourites are the always freshly-made Pastéis de Bacalhau (called Pastel Lisboa) at Chef Avillez’s Café Lisboa.