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frying Sicily
Polpette di Baccalà Default

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Salt Cod Balls

Sicilians in the Madonie Mountains have an affinity for salt cod, because until the last few years, no fresh fish or seafood was available to us. It is true that when you are denied a particular food, it becomes something you long to have. Everyone in our household loves Mamma’s little salt cod balls.

Yield: 4 servings


  • 2 pounds salt cod (must be soaked overnight)
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup currants, soaked in warm water for 10 minutes, drained, patted dry, and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped pine nuts
  • 1/3 cup fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1¼ cups fresh bread crumbs
  • Flour
  • Sunflower or vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1 lemon, cut into 4 wedges and seeded


Soak the salt cod, immersed in cool water, overnight in the refrigerator, covered well—two nights are even better. Change the water four times at 3-hour intervals during day hours.

Drain the salt cod well and pat it dry, pressing out excess water. Clean thoroughly, removing any skin and bones.

Finely chop the salt cod and put it into a bowl with the eggs, currants, pine nuts, parsley, garlic, onion, salt and pepper to taste, and the bread crumbs, and mix well.

Form the mixture into little egg shapes and coat with flour.

Heat ½ inch of sunflower or vegetable oil in a large frying pan until the oil is hot but not smoking. Cook the salt-cod eggs until golden brown allover and serve immediately with lemon wedges.

© 1996 Giovanna Tornabene and Gilda di Paola Tornabene

Nutritional Information

Nutrients per serving (% daily value)

Nutritional information is based on 1/8 teaspoon added salt per serving and includes 1/2 cup of flour to roll the polpette in.

1052kcal (53%)
16434mg (685%)
27g (41%)
3g (17%)
450mg (150%)
152mcg RAE (5%)
17mg (28%)
460mg (46%)
9mg (51%)

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