Frank ordered fishcakes in a restaurant last week that reminded him of the fishcakes his dad used to make when he was a kid. Now, his dad was a great cook, but if memory serves, his fishcakes were hockey pucks.
When I started looking around for recipes, I discovered that fishcakes were, traditionally, a way to use leftover fish and mashed potatoes from a previous night’s dinner. That would also explain why they often appear as a breakfast item. It might also explain the hockey puck memory.
Anyway, not having the appropriate leftovers, I bought a little less than a pound of cod, drizzled it with olive oil and seasoned it with salt and pepper and baked it. I set it aside to cool. Since I didn’t have mashed potatoes either, (and not being willing to make them for this purpose!) I opted for breadcrumbs as a binder. Interestingly enough, I think that the breadcrumbs produced a lighter product. I took pointers from recipes for crabcakes and improvised.
1. Chop a small onion and a stalk of celery into a small dice. I also had a red bell pepper, so I chopped about 1/4 of it as well. Saute these veggies in a little olive oil until they are soft. Season with salt, pepper, a few shakes of Old Bay Seasoning, a couple dashes of Tabasco and a small splash of worcestershire sauce. Set aside to cool.
2. Flake the cod and put it in a large bowl. Stir in about 1/3 C mayonnaise and 1/3 to 1/2 C dried breadcrumbs. Add the onions and celery mixture and stir gently. Very approximate here. If the mixture is too wet, add a little more breadcrumbs; too dense, more mayo. Since you’re using mayo instead of raw eggs, you can also taste it to see if you want to add more seasoning.
3. Form into “cakes” and put them on a sheet pan in the frig for at least a half hour to firm up.
4. Film a pan with olive oil and fry the fishcakes until they are brown and crispy on both sides.
5. Following the old Yankee tradition, we had the fishcakes with beans. And cole slaw.
This is definitely worth repeating. Next time we have baked cod, I plan to make extra in order to have the leftover fish that should be the base of this dish.