I caught back up with my guide, Tereza who's promised me something special in Praia do Forte, Salvador, Brazil. The Souza Beach Hut is one of the most traditional spots on the beach. Set up in 1996, it's runs by Antonio Maurillo, and his famous snacks, Bolinho de Peixe or fish fritters are the talk about town. These are not your typical fritter, he uses a really authentic recipe of indigenous ingredients and all that I am allowed to know is that inside them there was shredded fish, coconut milk, green peppers and coriander.
For the recipe below I'll be keeping the fritter idea going but sticking with flavours more close to home.
For the risotto cake:
- 100g salt cod
- 500ml hot chicken stock
- Olive oil
- 25g unsalted butter
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- 150g Arborio rice
- Small bunch coriander, chopped
- Zest of 1 lemon
- Sea salt and black pepper
- 150g plain flour
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 150g dry white breadcrumbs
- Vegetable oil for deep frying
For the pea purée:
- 250g frozen peas
- 50g mashed potato (for substance to the pea purée)
- Knob of unsalted butter
- 50ml double cream
- Small bunch mint leaves
- 4 medium eggs, to serve
- Dash white wine vinegar, to serve
Rinse the salt cod under running water for 10 minutes then place in a container and cover with cold water. Leave to soak overnight, changing the water 2 to 3 times throughout the soaking.
The next day, drain the cod, place it in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil then remove from the heat and drain thoroughly. When cool enough to handle, flake the cod into small pieces and set aside. Heat the olive oil and butter in a wide, heavy based saucepan until the butter is foaming. Add the onion along with a pinch of salt some black pepper and cook gently for 5 minutes until softened. Add the rice to the pan and fry for 5 minutes until the rice starts to turn translucent and smells slightly nutty. Add the spices and fry for a further minute until fragrant. Add a ladleful of the stock to the rice and keep stirring until the liquid is almost absorbed. Continue adding the stock in this way, stirring constantly until all of the stock has all been incorporated, this will take around 20 to 25 minutes. The rice should be soft but still have a little bite in the centre. Stir through the flaked cod, chopped coriander and lemon zest and season to taste.
Leave to cool completely then divide into four balls, flatten into cakes and lay on a plate lined with greaseproof paper. Refrigerate for 20 minutes until firm. Toss each risotto cake in flour, then in beaten egg, then in breadcrumbs. Repeat with a further coating of beaten egg and breadcrumbs. Heat the oil for deep frying to 160 degrees Celsius to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Add the risotto cakes and fry for 6 to 8 minutes until golden brown (you may have to do this in batches). Drain thoroughly on kitchen paper and season with sea salt.
Meanwhile make the pea purée. Put the peas into a liquidiser and pour in just enough boiling water to cover. Blitz until smooth, add the remaining ingredients and blitz again. Season to taste then transfer to a pan to keep warm.
Bring a saucepan of water to a gentle simmer and add the vinegar. Crack the eggs into the pan and poach gently for 4 to 5 minutes or until cooked to your liking. Remove from the pan and drain thoroughly.
Serve the risotto cakes on a bed of pea purée and top each with a poached egg.