In my extensive post of last week's salad/housewarming/selling out party, I mentioned I made balls. Of course I did! While researching traditional tapas recipes for the Spanish-themed shindig, I found a recipe for salt cod balls. Perfect! Except... I couldn't find salt cod. Plain old fresh cod, however, is readily available (thanks, refrigeration!), so I adapted the idea to use that instead.
These were a hit! I love the potato in them... I should make more balls with mashed potatoes. I also made an aioli to dip them in. People close to me will tell you that I can't stand mayonnaise (worst foodie ever?), but in recent years I have grown to like aioli... even though in my heart I know it's pretty much the same thing as mayo. This aioli is very flavorful, with bright lemon and fresh garlic, pairing perfectly with the fish balls.
Cod & Potato Balls
-3/4 pounds cod fillets
-2 russet potatoes, cut into big chunks
-1/2 cup flour
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-1.5 cups bread crumbs, divided
-juice of 1/2 lemon
-1 handful of Italian parsley, chopped fine
Sprinkle the cod generously with salt. Let sit for about 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, in a medium sauce pan, bring some water (fill the pan 3/4 full or so) to a simmer. Place the cod fillets in the hot water and simmer until cooked through, about 7 minutes or so. Remove fish from water and set aside. Put the potatoes into the water and bring back to a boil. Cook until the potatoes can be easily pierced with a fork, about 12 minutes.
Strain potatoes from water and place in a big bowl with the cooked fish. Use a potato masher to mash them together into a not-quite-smooth paste. Add the flour, lemon juice, garlic, egg and 1/2 cup of the breadcrumbs and mix well. Put in the fridge for about 30 minutes to set up a bit.
Form into balls using wet hands, and roll the balls in the remaining bread crumbs to coat. Place the balls on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and cook in a 400ºF oven for about 20 minutes until golden brown. Serve warm with lemon garlic aioli.
Lemon Garlic Aioli
-1 egg yolk
-juice of 1 lemon
-2 cloves garlic, grated
-about 3/4 cup olive oil
Put the yolk, lemon juice and garlic in the bowl of a stand mixer (or mixing bowl if you are going to whisk by hand) and beat until creamy. Add the olive oil, starting with a small drop at a time and gradually adding a slow stream, beating constantly until all of the oil is incorporated and you have a thick, creamy sauce. Serve.
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