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Tu Vez Latino Culinary Academy: Bacalaitos


Welcome to the Tu Vez Latino Culinary Academy! We are determined to teach Latino men how to feed themselves without having to go to a drive-through. Will it be an old family recipe? A delicious cocktail? A trade secret? Stay tuned to find out!

We Latinos are still largely Catholics. Where would the Church be without us? The pews would be a lot less crowded on Sunday mornings for sure. We also observe many of the old school rules as well. My mom would never in a million years eat meat on a Friday during Lent. Somehow, fish isn’t considered a meat so it’s OK to eat. One of the ironic things about we Caribbean Latinos is that we don’t eat a lot of fresh fish, even though we come from a bunch of islands. Overwhelmingly, our fish of choice is salted cod or bacalao. This goes back to the days when salted cod was the staple of the Western diet, (Check out Mark Kurlansky’s fascinating book, “Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Saved the World“). It was cheap and fresh fish was expensive. So, we developed a lot of salted cod recipes, like this one from Puerto Rico. Since Lent is coming up soon, I thought I’d share one of my favorite Friday fish foods: Bacalaitos.

Bacalaitos

1 Pound salted cod. You can find it in the fish section, in frozen foods, and sometimes in the vegetable section.

2 Cups of flour

2 Tsp of baking powder, not soda

1 Tsp of Adobo, prince of all purpose seasoning

4 Cups of water

2 Garlic cloves, minced

3 Tbsp of vegetable oil

Soak the fish overnight in cold water. Salting preserves and dehydrates the fish so you have to rehydrate it, just like astronaut food. Drain and rinse it with more cold water. Put another two cups of water in a pot and boil the fish for about 10 minutes or until it comes apart. Remove the skin and bones and shred that sucker. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, adobo, 2 cups of water, garlic, and the fish and mix it up to smooth consistency. Heat the oil until it is so hot if it splashed your face you’d look like Freddy Kruger. Make little patties with the dough and drop them into the oil. Fry them until they are golden brown. Drain on a paper towel and eat it. Thanks Jesus for giving me an excuse to eat bacalao!

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