I stumbled into a US Virgin Island bakery called Thomas Bakery here in Decatur and had my first experience with a saltfish patty. I was curious about the food that the Virgin Islands had to offer since I’ve never had anything from there before and decided to try the saltfish patty; it was a safe choice.
I took one bite into the soft bake-like exterior which gave way to a slightly salty, stewed saltfish filling and it was love at first bite. This crust differs from the Guyanese and Jamaican patty; it’s somewhere between bake and pastry and was a good vessel to house the well seasoned saltfish filling. I’ve been back to that bakery several times and always have the saltfish patty but knew that I had to give it a try at home. I found a recipe in my Culinaria The Caribbean cookbook and tweaked it a bit to come up with this one. Enjoy!
- 8 oz salt cod, soaked overnight and flaked
- 1/2 cup sweet peppers, chopped
- 1/3 cup celery, chopped
- 1/2 cup onion, chopped
- 1 tbsp crushed garlic
- 2 tsp thyme
- 2 tsp oregano
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tbsp ketchup
- 1/2 tsp finely chopped hot pepper (optional)
- 3 cup flour
- 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp sugar
- 3/4 cup margarine
- 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp water
- To make the dough mix flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Add margarine and rub in using your hands until it resembles a crumble. Add water and mix to form a dough then set aside.
- To make the filling add oil to a pan and cook peppers, celery and onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add garlic, thyme, oregano and tomato paste and cook for an additional minute or two.
- Add flaked salt fish and cook for about 5 minutes. Add water, ketchup and hot pepper and cook on low for an additional 10 minutes until the water has evaporated.
- To make the patty divide the dough into 10 equal pieces. Roll into an oblong shape and fill with a spoonful of saltfish filling leaving an inch border around the edges. Fold dough over filling to form an oblong shape and press the ends close with a fork.
- Fry in hot oil until golden brown on both sides.
- Place on a plate lined with paper towel and allow to cool.
- Serve warm.
**Recipe adapted from Culinaria The Caribbean.