Sunday, November 8, 2015

Spectacular Fish Cakes

Fish cakes have never been high on my list of recipes to make. They were never something my mother served our family. In fact the first image that comes to mind is greasy, smoke filled cottages in England or Ireland where I'm guessing fish cakes were a staple simply due to the abundance of the sea. But when I was gifted with two pounds of fresh, local, ling cod from a friend for showing how to cook Sticky Sesame Tofu and Mei Fun Noodles, fish cakes was what sprang to my mind as the best way to showcase the cod.

And then the internet led me to this recipe and a love that I never knew possible was born. Ultimate may sound like hyperbole, and because my repertoire on fish cakes is limited to this one version, I am just going to take their word for it. But believe me, these are freaking amazing! Out of this world, smack your mama good! (that would be Southern for why didn't my mama make this for me when I was a child?!)

The tartar sauce alone blows your mind but mashed in with some potatoes and then combined with fish? Holy cannolis! Two-three servings is really only two (or one!) if you are willing to share! These will be making a regular appearance at our table for sure!

Spectacular Fish Cakes (from BBC Food's recipe)
(serves 2-3)

Tartar Sauce
2/3 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon capers, minced
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (make your own!)
1 teaspoon creamy prepared horseradish
1 small shallot, minced
1 teaspoon parsley, minced

Fish Cakes
1/2 lb halibut or cod or other firm white fish
2 bay leaves
1 cup milk
1/2 lb yukon gold potatoes, diced
1 tablespoon parsley minced
1 tablespoon chives, snipped
zest from 1 lemon
1 egg
flour for shaping
1 cup fine breadcrumbs
oil for frying

Combine all of the tartar sauce ingredients and set aside to chill. Place potatoes in pot of what will at least 1 inch of water to cover. Bring to boil and cook until just tender but still toothsome. Drain and return to the hot pan and on lowest simmer, stir and mash until potatoes dry out but are still fluffy. Mash and remove from heat and beat in 1 tablespoon of tartar sauce plus parsley, chives and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper and taste potatoes - they should be delicious! Set aside.

In large frying pan place fish and bay leaves and milk and bring to boil. Lower heat to simmer and cook for 4 minutes. Remove pan from heat and cover and allow fish to finish cooking. Fish will flake easily when it is done. Drain milk and gently fold fish into potatoes, using your hands to just barely combine so that fish doesn't break up too much.

Dust your hands and work space with flour and carefully form fish cakes, coating them with flour. Beat the egg in a wide soup bowl and place breadcrumbs on a plate. Carefully dip a fish cake into the egg and then heat breadcrumbs on top, dusting all sides with crumbs. Repeat with all cakes. Fry cakes in a hot skillet with about 1/4 inch of oil in the pan on medium high heat, turning once. Serve with tartar sauce.


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