These small snacks made from bacalhau (salt cod) are a favorite in bars and at the beach everywhere in Brazil, and are not specifically considered as something associated with Easter. They are eaten all year round, usually washed down with ice-cold Brazilian beer. Although I never deep-fry anything at home because of the smell of fried food, and try not to eat too much that has been deep-fried even in restaurants due to health concerns, I do have a real weak spot for these treats. When they're on offer, they are very difficult to resist.
As I don't deep-fry at home, I haven't made this recipe myself. I include it for interest, and in case anyone would like to make these bolinhos (in English: little balls) at home.
RECIPE - Bolinhos de Bacalhau (Salt-Cod Balls)
2.5 lbs. (1 kg.) bacalhau, desalted and de-skinned - click here for technique
2.5 lbs. (1 kg.) red-skinned potatoes
2 bay leaves
2 Tbsp. Extra-virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp. finely chopped garlic
3 Tbsp. Italian parsley, finely chopped
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Neutral vegetable oil for frying
Place the salt cod in heavy saucepan with cold fresh water to cover, bring to a boil over medium heat, and boil gently until tender. Drain, let cool, and reserve.
Meanwhile, place the potatoes in oven-proof pan or dish, and roast in pre-heated 425F degree (220C) oven for one hour. Remove from oven, let cool slightly, peel, and then mash them. Let cool completely then reserve.
Using your hands, flake the bacalhau into very small pieces, making sure to remove all bones. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a heavy-duty frying pan, then add the bacalhau, the bay leaves and the garlic and fry until the mixture is lightly browned, and dry. Discard the bay leaves, let cool, and reserve.
When ready to serve, heat the vegetable oil in deep-fryer or deep pan, taking care not to burn or heat too high. Mix the bacalhau, the mashed potatoes and the chopped parsley, being sure to create a homogenous mixture. Add black pepper to taste.
Form the mixture into balls of approximately 1 inch (2.5 cm) diameter, using well-oiled hands to avoid sticking. Fry in the hot oil until nicely browned on all sides. Remove from oil, drain on paper towels, and serve immediately, garnished with wedges of fresh limes.
Recipe translated and adapted from Cozinha Regional Brasileira from Abril Editora.