Recipes from The Mountain by Carol Charlton

Recipes from The Mountain by Carol Charlton

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From the mountainous region of the Maestrat in inland Spain, above the orange blossom coast..This is the month when the farmers return to the fields after the winter frosts, to prepare them for the year ahead. The air hums with tractors and strimmers. Saws and secateurs are taken to the olive and fruit tree to prune them down and encourage growth for another season. The almonds and the olives are the primary crops in the area

As the days grow longer, it is the time for Lent and preparations for Easter. The Spanish traditionally observed Lent by giving up meat and developed a wide variety of salted cod ‘bacalao’ recipes. Today even though salting fish is not needed to preserve it, the traditional salted cod dishes remain popular

Meat is not normally eaten over Easter, as Atzeneta is not a coastal town and before the arrival of a fish counter, they would traditionally have used salted cod fish. Just as in Britain during and after the war the fish was also salted down or smoked to preserve it …for fishcakes or fish pie

Mandongulles – Salt Cod Fish Fritters

Serves 4

500 g salt cod
00 g medium potatoes
3 cloves garlic
Pinch of cinnamon
Pinch of Pimento
2 whole eggs
Bunch of Parsley
70 g Pine nuts

Soak the salted cod in water for 24 hours, changing the water 3 times with at least 4 hours between times, then de=skin and de-bone. Boil the potatoes for roughly 20 minutes, drain and add the cod. Mash together making sure you seek out the bones! Add the egg yolks and combine.

In a pestle and mortar grind together the parsley and garlic and add into the mash. Lightly toast the pine nuts with the pimiento then also add in together with a pinch of cinnamon and salt to taste.
Leave the mixture in the fridge to cool and stiffen and then shape into balls, passing them through the beaten egg whites before frying.

Serve with fresh tomato salsa and garlic mayonnaise and a glass or two of fine Albarino from Galicia.