SALT FISH FRITTERS (Stamp and Go)
Eat Caribbean by Virginia Burke
These bite-sized fritters - known as 'stamp and go', 'ackra' or affectionately as 'flittas' in Jamaica - are very similar to 'bacalaitos' from Puerto Rico but are much smaller.
Preparation time: 25 minutes cooking or overnight soaking for salt fish + 20 minutes + 20 minutes cooking.
Makes about 24
• 8 oz salt fish, prepared (see below*) and flaked, or canned bacalao, drained thoroughly
• 3 spring onions, chopped, use white and green parts
• 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
• 1 targe plum tomato, de-seeded and chopped finely
• 1/2 scotch bonnet pepper, de-seeded and chopped finely, or a few dashes of hot pepper sauce
• 1 tsp baking powder
• 3/4 cup plain flour
• 1 egg, beaten
• 1/4 cup water
• about 1/4 cup oil, for shallow-frying
1. Mix the prepared salt fish with the rest of the finely chopped seasonings. Mix the baking powder with the flour and then add the salt fish mixture and mix together evenly. Stir in the beaten egg.
2. Little by little, add the milk or cold water until you have a lumpy batter.
3. Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed skillet and add the annatto to colour it, if using.
4. Drop batter by the spoonful into the skillet of hot oil. Fry and turn when just golden brown. Remove from pan with a slotted spatula and drain on kitchen paper to remove excess oil.
Cook's tip: Crab fritters are a more delicate fritter. Substitute for the salt fish 8 oz crabmeat, flaked.
* Preparing dried salt fish
Dried, salted fish (usually cod) is a popular ingredient. It is quite easy to prepare for use. When you find dried salt fish it often looks like whitish cardboard. Most often it is left to soak in cold water overnight. I usually just rince it off under the cold tap then place it in a pan full of water and bring to the boil. Throw that water away, fill up the pot again and boil once more. Drain and cool, remove skin (if any) then using two forks or your fingers, flake into little pieces. You might have to remove bones, or you can buy it boneless.
Don't try to take out all the salt or you'll miss the point of your dish. Buy ready-prepared salt fish canned (also known as 'bacalao' or 'morue') if you'd prefer.