Caribbean Salt Cod Fritters

This Caribbean pepper is famous for being the hottest chile pepper in the world. They come in a variety of shapes and colors(yellow, orange,green, red,chocolate). Not only are they extremely hot, but they also have a unique,distinctively fruity flavor.

It is the key ingredient in the popular Jamaican Jerk sauce. The habanero is also widely used in many different types of hot sauces. The popularity of this chile pepper continues to grow and is becoming easier to find on the grocery shelf.

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8 oz. salt cod, cut into large pieces
6 cups water
2 scallions, white and green parts, minced
1 Scotch bonnet or serrano chile pepper, seeded and minced
1 small tomato, peeled, seeded and minced
1 cup flour
1 cup dried bread crumbs
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. garlic salt
2 large egg whites, beaten until soft peaks form
2 whole eggs
1/4 cup milk (preferably whole milk)
vegetable oil, for frying


Place the cod in a bowl and add enough water to cover by at least 1 inch. Refrigerate for 24 hours, changing the water every 8 hours. Drain and rinse the cod, then pat it dry.

In a heavy pot, bring the 6 cups of water to a boil, then remove the pot from the heat. Add the salt cod and cover, then set it aside until cooked through, about 15 minutes. Transfer the cod to a plate and set it aside to cool. Remove and discard any skin and fins, then use your fingers to break the cod into small pieces, removing and discarding the bones.

In a bowl, combine the cod, scallions, chile pepper and tomato, then set aside.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, bread crumbs, baking powder, salt and garlic salt, then add the cod mixture and stir to combine.

Have the beaten egg whites ready. In a bowl, lightly beat the whole eggs, then add the milk. Add the egg mixture to the cod mixture and mix well. Using a spatula, gently fold in the beaten egg whites.

Line a large plate or baking sheet with some paper towels or a plain brown paper bag. In a large deep-sided pot or skillet, heat enough vegetable oil to reach a depth of 2 inches to 360F (hot but not smoking). Carefully drop a heaping teaspoon of batter into the hot oil and repeat several times, taking care not to crowd the pot. Fry the fritters, turning once, until they are nicely puffed and browned.

Transfer the cod fritters to the paper towels and drain. Repeat with the remaining batter, then serve the fritters hot.

Recipe from The Washington Post, February 18, 2004.