Last Updated on February 25, 2021 by Chef Mireille
Haitian Style Bacalao Patties are a popular street food and party item. Puff pastry stuff with seasoned salted cod.
Haitian cuisine is the perfect blend of African and French culinary traditions and this marriage of flavors combines in these Salt Cod Patties and my other Haitian Recipes.
Most Caribbean islands have some translation of a pattie – a meat filling stuffed inside a pastry. While most islands use a short crust pastry, Haiti uses puff pastry for a flaky crust. Chicken and beef are usually the most common fillings, but the Haitian patties are often stuffed with salted cod. In the French based patois language of Haiti, these are called pate (pah-tay).
Dried salted cod is used extensively throughout the Caribbean. On Spanish speaking islands, it is called bacalao. The rest of the Caribbean uses it to make the ubiquitous fish cakes & a little is added to flavor vegetable dishes. It is commonly sauteed and eaten for breakfast with ground provision (a variety of boiled, root vegetables). It is part of Jamaica’s national dish of Salt Fish & Ackee.
The salt is used as a preservative. I believe this was a way to preserve fish which is abundant in the Caribbean, before the refrigerator was readily available to everyone. However, the salt needs to be soaked off before it can be utilized.
A few months back I went to a burger joint in Williamsburg. I was amazed at the variety of burgers they had, including Vegetarian options and so excited when I saw a burger with dried, salted cod. I think the owner is trying to be inclusive of the diverse community of Williamsburg (Brooklyn, NY) by including this on the menu. However, his staff are obviously unfamiliar with the product and they failed to soak the fish first. It was so salty and completely unpalatable. I can’t believe any of them including the owner actually tasted it and felt it was alright to serve this to people. So please don’t skip the soaking part of this recipe. It is vital.
Most people in Haiti would make the puff pastry themselves. I took a shortcut and utilize store bought puff pastry.
HOW TO MAKE HAITIAN PATE – SALT COD PATTIES
To make square pate:
Although they are most commonly made in squares, I prefer the triangular ones. They make the perfect party treat!
Enjoy with a little bit of Pikliz – Haitian Pickled Vegetable Hot Sauce.
The flaky crust is what makes Haitian pate totally different from other Caribbean meat patties.
Byen Manje!!! (Eat Well!!! in Haitian Creole language)
Haitian Pate – Salted Cod Fritters
- 1 pound dried salted cod
- 1 small onion chopped
- 1 bell pepper chopped
- 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 1 Scotch Bonnet pepper finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons parsley finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- a pinch of salt
- 3 sheets puff pastry
- 2 tablespoons milk
- Place fish in a pot with enough water to cover. Soak for 2 hours.
- Drain and change the water.
- Boil in the fresh water for 20 minutes. Drain.
- As soon as it is cool enough to handle, flake the fish by hand.
- In a skillet, heat oil.
- Add onion, bell pepper, garlic and Scotch Bonnet. Saute until vegetables are softened.
- Add fish, parsley, lime juice salt. Mix and cook until thoroughly combined.
- Preheat oven to 400 F.
- Defrost puff pastry for about 15 minutes. It should be pliable, but not too soft.
- Lay out a sheet on a lightly floured surface. Sprinkle a little more flour on top.
- Dock the pastry by piercing with a fork or by using a docking tool.
- Square Pastries:
- Cut each pastry sheet into 9 equal squares.
- Place about 2 tablespoons of the fish filling on each square.
- Roll out another pastry on another lightly floured work surface. Dock the dough and cut into 9 equal sized squares.
- Brush the perimeter of the squares with the fish filling with water
- Place the plain squares on top of the squares with the fish filling and seal the edges with a fork.
- Place on a baking sheet. Brush the tops with the milk.
- Triangle Pastries:
- Cut each pastry sheet into 12 pieces
- Place about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the fish filling on each square.
- Brush the perimeter of the squares with the fish filling with water.
- Fold over into a triangle and seal the edges.
- Place on a baking sheet. Brush the tops with the milk.
- Bake for 20 minutes.
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Love curry puff pastries. I never tried it with fish filling. Looks delicious. Where can we get dried cod?
I just get it at my local supermarket, but I live in a neighborhood with a lot of Caribbean people. In Manhattan, you would probably have to go to a gourmet supermarket like Whole Foods or Fairway or go uptown to Spanish Harlem supermarkets. If you want, I can get it for you and probably a lot cheaper than Manhattan. we can meet in the city one day.
I love puffs ..naturally the vegetarian versions..however I am told the non veg version tastes great. So can imagine how this must have been..nice to read so much about the food culture from the places you try your recipes..thanks for the efforts!
Lovely puffs pastries .I will try it in veg versions.
Delicious puffs !
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I am now on the look out for salted cod, but I have been looking a long time. love pate and have had the Jamaican version with curry type beef. Totally addicting!
I think I saw bacalao on one of Chopped episodes and if I remember correctly one of the chef didn't remove the saltiness and was eventually chopped.
Clicks have come out very good Mir.
sometimes the chefs can be really clueless about international ingredients. On a recent episode, they had karela and one of the chefs served it raw as a salad. It's bitter enough when it is cooked but none of the judges could eat it raw.
The Pumpkin Farm
Cod for me since childhood only appeared in the then famous codliver oil. All mums in late 80's and early 90's were obsessed with feeding the pills to their kids…coming back to your recipe, this is wonderfully done and your step by step capture and elaborate explanation makes me feel as if i have made it myself..alas cannot taste the same until i make it myself, i believe we can replace the fish with any other
Love the way you chose your traditional dish! I can't talk much about the filling, but I am sure it would have tasted as lovely as it looks!
Mir, like I always say, I love reading your post, esp the part where you talk about the food culture. I am clueless about the taste but it does look good!
Yum. I will love to taste this Mir. Must say when it will come to cooking a patties( as they are called here) I will lag behind.:D
Love the intro to the post.