Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Blueberry Mojito with Frituritas de Bacalao

Considered to be Cuba's national cocktail, a Mojito is one of the coolest summer drinks for the hottest of days. Traditionally made with rum, soda water and a refreshing hit of mint and lime, the secret to this Blueberry Mojito is the vibrant Blueberry-infused syrup which gives this cocktail it's fabulous colour and berry-licious flavour. Served over ice with a sprig of mint and a handful of fresh blueberries, all that's needed is a platter of delicious Cuban-inspired appetizers such as these crisp and golden Frituritas de Bacalao. Salud!

Blueberry Mojito
Serves 1

10 to 15 mint leaves, plus more for garnish
10 to 15 fresh blueberries, plus more for garnish
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 1/2 oz white rum 

Splash of club soda
1 oz blueberry simple syrup

Blueberry simple syrup:
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 1/2 cups blueberries

Combine water and sugar in a medium saucepan. Simmer over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally. Add the blueberries and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat to low, and simmer for at least 10 minutes to allow the flavour to infuse the syrup. Let cool, then strain to get rid of any solids. Pour into a glass container and refrigerate until the syrup is chilled, about an hour.

In a cocktail shaker, muddle the mint leaves, blueberries and 3/4-ounce of blueberry simple syrup. Fill with ice, add the rum and lime juice and shake well. Strain into an ice-filled highball glass, top with the club soda, stirring until you get a lovely purple colour. Garnish with some small blueberries and a sprig of fresh mint.

Frituritas de Bacalao (Cuban Cod Fritters)
Serves 4 as an appetizer

6 oz dried salted cod
1 egg, beaten
1/8 cup onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 jalapeño pepper, minced
2 scallions, cut in thin rounds
3 tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
1/2 cup - 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
Salt and pepper
Canola oil for frying
1/2 cup sour cream or chipotle mayonnaise, for garnish

Soak cod overnight in cold water, making sure to change the water three times. Drain cod and place in saucepan with enough fresh water to cover. Bring to a boil and simmer until cod is soft, about 10 min. Transfer cod to a plate to cool and reserve 1/2 cup of its cooking liquid.

Finely chop the fish by hand or in a food processor. Add egg to the cod with the onion, garlic, jalapeño, scallion, cilantro and cooking liquid. Beat in enough flour to obtain a thick paste, stir in the baking powder and season with salt and pepper if needed.

Fry fritters in hot oil 350°F until golden brown on all sides, about 2 minutes total. Work in batches, do not crowd the pan. Drain on paper towels and serve with a small bowl of sour cream or chipotle mayonnaise for dipping.