Long ago our early settlers were over the moon to find out the Atlantic was teaming with cod. One of their favorite things to do with it was to make fried fish cakes. It’s still a comfort food found all around our coasts. It’s no fuss, no muss kind of dish.
But it all starts with salted cod. This fish has enough salt on it to make a lemon pucker. It’s enough salt for dooms-day preppers to store it indefinitely. You will need to soak this overnight to remove most of the salt. You will never remove all of the salt, so I advise you do not add any to your cakes.
You should drain the water after the first hour or 2 of soaking. Then fill your bowl back up with fresh water. When you are ready to make the cakes, give the fish a thorough rinse and drain well.
Fish cakes taste really good the next day, so left overs can easily be packed in tomorrow’s lunch. Stick ‘em in a snack container along with a container of tarter sauce for dipping, some celery sticks, and you have yourself a nutritious school lunch. They also make a great breakfast.
4 large potatoes, peeled, and boiled.
1 lb. salt cod, soaked overnight and drained.
1 tbsp minced red onion
2 tbsp fresh minced chives
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh dill
1 tsp old bay seasoning
½ tsp ground black pepper
2 eggs whisked with 1 tsp milk
½ cup bread crumbs
Dill and chives for garnish.
After cooking the potatoes and cod, let them come to room temperature. Then flake/mash these together with a fork. (Some people pulse these in a food processor but I find mixing by hand makes a nicer texture).
Add in the spices, dill, onions, and chives and mix well. Form into small balls and flatten each to aprox 3” in diameter and aprox 1“ thick. Gently place in a shallow bowl which holds the whisked egg, turn and coat the other side. In a shallow pan, holding the bread crumbs, gently flip to coat the patty in crumbs. Take care not to coat thickly with crumbs, you just want a thin, even coat. Place patties on a lined baking sheet and place in fridge for ½ hour to get cool- this will make them firm so they will not crumble during cooking.
In the meantime, prepare a large platter with paper towel to absorb the oil from the fried cakes. Fill a medium skillet to about ½ “ of vegetable oil and heat over med-high heat. Take the patties out of the fridge and begin frying them 4 or 5 at a time in the skillet. After a few minutes, flip to brown the other side. It takes about 3 minutes on each side, until it’s nice and golden.
Remove with a thin spatula or tongs onto the paper towel. This makes about 2 dozen cakes and feeds my family of 6, with a few left over for next days lunch.