Saffron batter – a decadent, glorious way to celebrate Epiphany, or something a little flashy to take your mind off your bank balance post-Christmas. It’s a batter made with yeast and is egg free, the feather-light tempura queen of batters that would give Tacitus’ descriptions of decadence a run for their money.
I first read about this recipe after going saffron picking at the Cooperativa Alto piano di Navelli. Gina, head of the red gold co-operative there gave me one of her little recipe books mentioning Saffron & Baccalà Fritters. At the time I thought, hmm that’s a little bit decadent, but her recipe sat squirreling away till a Norwegian family member bought some superb Baccalà from her local co-operative and the opportunity was too good to miss. Sadly I didn’t have Gina’s recipe to hand so bastardised a similar one that I found online at Saporetipico made with tasty Scamorza. The biggest change is the water type and the amount of saffron, they advised 30 g and I think you’d need to be a millionaire to be cooking with that much!
Saffron & Baccalà Fritters Recipe
– 3 soaked and rinsed fillets of Baccalà (salt cod) cut into bite size pieces
– 100 g plain flour
– 20 g Fast Acting Yeast
-270 ml Carbonated Water
– 1 Packet of Saffron Navelli
– Good pinch of Salt
– Ground Nut Oil
Add a packet of Navelli saffron into room temperature carbonated water and leave to stand for an hour.
Add the yeast to the water and slowly whisk into the flour and salt. When smooth, pop into the fridge and leave to stand for half an hour. It will rise, after half an hour run a fork through it to knock it back down.
In the meantime roast a red sweet pepper & chili together for 20 minutes, de-skin and mash into a little ricotta to form a paste. Make a fresh saffron mayonnaise with 1 egg yolk and 250 ml olive oil and 5 strands of saffron and a pinch of salt.
Remove your batter from the fridge and fold in your bite-size pieces of Baccalà making sure they are evenly coated.
Heat a deep frying pan or wok with a small 250 ml bottle of groundnut oil. When you can add a teaspoon of batter and it sizzles, you’ve reached the right temperature. Add the batter coated Baccalà into the oil and fry for approximately 2 minutes or until golden. Drain on kitchen paper and then serve with pepper ricotta and saffron mayonnaise.