Accras de Morue

During our week in Martinique, we spent the afternoons driving along the coast, stopping at every fishing village to sample the rum along with the sea food fritters known locally as "accras". I was surprised to learn that there is actually a shortage of fish in the Caribbean, and consequently, the most common version is made with salt cod imported from Nova Scotia.

The accompaniment de rigueur is "sauce chien", which translates literally to "dog sauce". The name is probably derived from the idiom "avoir du chien" (to have pluck), although there are those who will say that the sauce is so named bacause of its bite, or because it makes even dog taste good. Yet another interpretation is suggested below.

  • 1 pound salt cod filet
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 habanero chile
  • 4 scallions
  • Several sprigs of cilantro
  • 1 cup vegetable oil (for frying)

Soak the salt cod in a large bowl of water for at least eight hours, changing the water several times.

Drain the cod and puree it in a food processor. Transfer to a bowl and mix in the flour, baking powder, allspice, and half the milk. Mince the garlic, habanero, scallions, and cilantro and add them to the mixture. Stir in enough additional milk to make a batter, wet but not watery. Cover and refrigerate.

Heat the oil in a pan. Add one-ounce spoonfuls of the accra batter, slightly flattening with the back of the spoon. Sauté over medium heat until browned on both sides and cooked through. Serve hot with sauce chien.

Sauce Chien

  • 4 scallions
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 2 habanero chiles
  • Several sprigs of cilantro
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar

Blend all ingredients in a food processor. Refrigerate for a day or more.