Fried Cod Fish Ball Tapas (Bolas de Bacalao Frito) Recipe

Cod fish balls
Avlxyz/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0
Prep: 24 hrs 30 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 25 hrs
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
719 Calories
36g Fat
39g Carbs
57g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 719
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 36g 47%
Saturated Fat 6g 30%
Cholesterol 181mg 60%
Sodium 5505mg 239%
Total Carbohydrate 39g 14%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 57g
Vitamin C 17mg 84%
Calcium 252mg 19%
Iron 5mg 26%
Potassium 1756mg 37%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

"Bacalao" or salt cod is very popular in Spanish food, and it is really delicious and versatile. These little fish balls are light, fluffy and practically melt in your mouth. Serve with alioli sauce (garlic mayonnaise) and/or "sofrito" (tomato sauce) for a unique and tasty appetizer.


  • 1 pound salt cod

  • 2 medium potatoes

  • 6 green onions, divided

  • 2 to 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

  • 1 to 1 1/4 cups milk

  • 3 tablespoons parsley, chopped

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

  • 2 large eggs, divided

  • 1 cup breadcrumbs

  • 1/4 cup flour

  • Olive oil, for frying

  • Sofrito, optional, for serving

  • Aioli, optional, for serving

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Rinse salt cod under cold water to remove any caked salt from the outside.

  3. Cut cod into small pieces—about 1 to 1 1/2 inches. This will help cod absorb the water.

  4. Place fish in a glass baking dish and cover with water. Place in refrigerator and soak for at least 24 hours, changing water 2 to 3 times.

  5. Pour out water and place fish in a colander, rinsing the pieces of fish under the faucet. Allow to drain for 5 minutes, then pat dry with a paper towel and place on a plate.

  6. Boil potatoes with skin until cooked (soft and tender).

  7. Run under cold water, and when it is cool enough to touch, then peel.

  8. Cut potatoes into pieces and mash with a fork in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.

  9. Finely chop the green onions.

  10. Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan and sauté half of the onions.

  11. Add milk and heat.

  12. Add cod and simmer on low for approximately 10 minutes.

  13. Take the pan off the stove and use a fork to break fish into small flakes. Remove bones.

  14. Add cod mixture to mashed potatoes and mix.

  15. Add remaining onions, parsley, and nutmeg. Drizzle in 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil, adding lemon juice to taste. Mix thoroughly.

  16. Beat 1 egg in a small bowl. Mix into the cod-potato mixture, then refrigerate until mixture firms—about 30 minutes.

  17. Beat the second egg and put it in a shallow bowl. In another bowl, mix the breadcrumbs and flour together.

  18. Remove cod mixture from refrigerator and shape into balls, then flatten slightly.

  19. Pour 1/2-inch olive oil into a large frying pan and heat.

  20. When oil is hot enough, roll each ball in breadcrumb mixture and dip in beaten egg. Fry over medium-high heat, until golden. Then, turn.

  21. Remove balls from pan and drain on a paper towel.

  22. If desired, serve cod fritters with sofrito (tomato sauce) or alioli, Spanish garlic mayonnaise—or serve with both sauces.