I feel like salt cod is haunting me. I think it started with my blogger friend Mark’s post on salt cod that I mentioned back when I last posted about cod. Then in New York, I ate salt cod croquettes at Casa Mono. Even the Whole Foods we went to had salt cod in a bulk bin. Well, I’m sorry to announce that no, this recipe doesn’t utilize salt cod. It’s like my own recipe is jeering at and taunting me. I’ll just go hang out at allrecipes.com. Start posting there instead. Watch, they probably even wax on about bacalao there, too. User grandma_knitter64 is all about making her own salt cod and making the best salt cod croquettes, ’cause that’s just so here and now, ya know. Well screw you guys, I’m making plain old fish cakes with fresh cod and some mashed taters (and some lime zest and cilantro because, heck, I’m not in New England anymore).
There are about as many types of fish cake recipes out there as there are stupid blogs like mine with posts on them. I’m not sure I’m comfortable saying mine’s definitive in any way – either for me or in the world of fish cakes, but it’s pretty great. It’s crispy on the outside and super soft and fluffy on the inside with flecks of just crunchy enough red onion. Lime zest and cilantro make them kind of addicting and squeezing fresh lime juice on top before you eat them is just what I needed to get through yes, another snow storm. Accompanied by kale and cabbage slaw, it’s all a pretty great antidote.
The ratio of fish to potato is not entirely exact, nor does it matter what type of fish you use; salmon, cod, sea bass, salt cod… . I use about a 1:1.5 ratio of fish to potato, scaling the eggs and other seasonings appropriately. I’ve been wanting to make fish cakes with yuca as the binding starch, but my normal grocery store stopped carrying it and goddddd I hate going to multiple grocery stores on one trip. Errand overload. So, yeah, you could try some yuca. Talk about a binding starch. I love it. Speaking of weirdly starchy things, I’m also kind of into chia seeds. They’re so strange and gelatinous!
If you’d like to make other flavors, parsley and lemon zest are the obvious substitute. And obviously delicious. You could also add minced celery and of course make mayo or aioli! My next post is full of mayo, so I thought I wouldn’t over do it. Hm, mojo would be wonderful and the chimichurri in that post, too! But really, just a squeeze of citrus is wonderful, plus the crispy, fatty crust on the outside. Speaking of crispy, fatty crust… I got pizza on Friday. Don’t judge, but it was a gluten free crust and it is so good. I mean, I sure like real pizza dough, but this crust this awesome pizza place has is so crispy and greasy and the edges just a little crumbly like cornmeal but jesus did it all make me feel bad. Probably because the gluten free crust has way more shit in it than real pizza dough. Or it was all the cheese. Probably the dough. I got what I deserved. Everyone hates gluten avoiders.
potato fish cakes
adapted from Jamie Oliver
1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and roughy chopped
1 pound fish fillets
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
a handful of cilantro, minced, about a 1/4 cup
zest of one lime (save the lime for squeezing on the finished cakes)
1. Add potatoes to a large pot and cover with salted and peppered water. Cover and bring to a boil.
2. When the potatoes are halfway done (and this depends on the size of your chunks – test with a fork and it should be a little tough to pierce them), place a metal colander on top of the pot and place the fish in it. Cover and let steam until the potatoes are done.
3. Remove the fish and set aside. Using the colander, drain the potatoes and then return to the pot. Let them dry out a bit in the pot then mash. Salt to taste
4. In a large bowl, mix the potatoes with the onion, cilantro, zest, and egg. Flake in the fish and gently fold it in.
5. In a large sauté pan, heat a good amount of clarified butter or lard or other fat over medium heat until shimmering. Form 2 inch or so sized balls of the fish mixture and flatten to about 1/2 inch. Cook for about 3 minutes a side so they’re nice and golden.
Serve with generous squeezes of fresh lime juice. A slaw would be great to go alongside or wilted greens.