Delicious cod fish is used during Greek Lent and to celebrate Greek Independence Day which is March 25. There are many versions of a Greek cod fish recipe. While it’s a popular dish, cod isn’t native to the Aegean. So Greeks use dried, imported cod although you may be able to buy it fresh in your neighbourhood.
Independence Day marks the beginning of the revolution in 1821 by the oppressed Greeks who had been ruled by the brutal Ottoman Empire for hundreds of years. It was a long and bloody fight to free Greece which was finally recognized as an independent nation in May 1832. Our national day is a public holiday, and it’s typical for family and friends to gather for lunch to eat this cod dish.
On my island of Rhodes spring is just beginning and if the weather is behaving itself, people will eat outdoors at tavernas.
2 cups of all purpose flour
1 cup of beer
1 tsp. olive oil
A handful of finely chopped parsley
Salt & pepper
1 kilo of cod fish, skinned and deboned
1 big red bell pepper
A cup of finely chopped parsley
1 large onion finely chopped
1 tsp of vinegar
½ cup of olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste
4 cups of basmati rice (cooked)
Preparation time 1 hour
Cooking time 30 minutes in total
- Start the night before by adding your dried (or jerky) cod in a bowl of water which you will be changing at least four to five times before you go to bed. The next day, skin and debone. Squeeze the pieces of cod in your palm to discard excessive water. Fresh cod can also be used for this dish.
- Make your batter by adding all ingredients in a bowl and stir well. If it’s too watery add a little more flour. You need a thick batter. Add the cod into your batter and try forming a patty shape once you place it on a plate of flour.
- There is no need for perfection. Fry on both sizes in a deep skillet with olive oil until it turns golden brown.
- The best eggplant salad is made with smoked eggplants and peppers but you can also grill them in your oven.
- Make sure you poke the eggplants and pepper before cooking. Insert a fork into the eggplant and if it is nice and soft, it’s ready. It usually takes 30 minutes of grilling; the pepper might need a little more, depending on its size.
- Chop up the eggplants and pepper roughly and add the rest of ingredients.
- For the basmati just follow the instructions on the package. (Rinse 1 cup of basmati which you will add to a pot with 2 1/2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Turn heat down, cover your pot with its lid and let it simmer for about 8 min. Turn off and let it sit for 2 min. Add a generous spoon of butter and salt to taste.)
You can serve either with the rice and eggplant salad on the side or for a more impressive presentation make a tower (napoleon) starting with the rice, then salad and last the cod patties. It can be perfectly served with tartare sauce or a nice bread-garlic sauce called skordalia in Greek. I have also served the cod patties with a rich parsley pesto adding some chilli pepper in it and it was superb. Give it a try!
If you’re visiting Rhodes, please come to my restaurant! Ammoyiali is 2km from the centre of Rhodes Town on the foot of the Monte Smith hill near the Temple Of Apollo. 17 Voreiou Ipeirou Street. Call for reservations: 224-1023-980, 224-102-3939.
The restaurant is open all year round.