Portugal’s cuisine draws in both Atlantic and Mediterranean influences, stewing them together into flavours renowned worldwide. As part of our Eat Like a Local series, we decided to get to know Portugal’s food a little better, drafting in a few of the UK’s best cookery schools along the way.
Kinloch Lodge Cookery School
The Kinloch Lodge Cookery School, a Skye-based school just off the northwest coast of Scotland, gave us this appetizing recipe for bacalhau balls. It takes a little longer (you need to soak the fish in fresh water overnight), but the result is more than worth it.
Ingredients – bacalhau balls
Main fish mix
600g salmon and other trimmings
2 whole eggs
½ an onion
½ red pepper
10g fresh ginger
2 cloves of fresh garlic
2g fresh chilli
15g caster sugar
18g white wine vinegar
1 bag blanched spinach
200g bacalhau (dried and salted cod – alternatively, you can use smoked haddock fillets, gently poached for five minutes)
½ bag chopped raw spinach
Sweet chilli dip
170ml white wine vinegar
350g caster sugar
25ml fish sauce
2 red chillies
1 clove of garlic
2 teaspoons of fresh ginger
2 pinches of salt
2 pinches of cornflour (mixed with cold water to dilute)
Method – bacalhau balls
- Blend the fish trimmings in a food processor.
- Add the eggs and mix again for a short period of time. Then add the tabasco, caster sugar, salt, white wine vinegar and cornflour. Blend again.
- Remove from the food processor and place into a large mixing bowl. Add the fennel, red pepper and onion into the food processor then blend to a pulpy liquid. Add this to the large bowl holding the fish mix.
- Chop the chillies, ginger and garlic by hand and add to the mix.
- Blanch the spinach by dowsing in boiling water and removing immediately. Leave to cool. Once cold, squeeze any excess juice from the spinach.
- Roughly chop the blanched spinach along with the raw spinach. Combine into the mix, along with the salted cod or haddock. Mix well and as gently as possible.
- Portion the mix into walnut-sized pieces and deep fry for 2-3 minutes. Allow to drain and serve with a sweet chilli dip.
Method – sweet chilli dip
- Remove the seeds and stalks from the chillies and chop into small pieces.
- Finely chop the garlic and ginger.
- Add all the ingredients to the saucepan (apart from the dissolved cornflour) and bring to the boil.
- Whisk in the diluted cornflour, continuing to boil for a further 1-2 minutes then set aside to cool.