My husband is an East Coaster – a Newfoundlander to be exact. I could go on and on about my love for both the East Coast and the people of the East Coast but I won’t, or at least not in this post. This post I’m focusing on one of my favourite East Coast meals.
I have been slowly trying to learn some of his mom’s recipes so I can incorporate them into our own family traditions and special occasions. This weeks special occasion was just that it was Wednesday, so why not? We’re both big fans of fish cakes and so we picked up a salt cod and called up Mr Content’s mom for her recipe and i gave it a go.
I do have to say that it’s really easiest to get recipes from Alice when you are standing right beside her while she’s making them because they are all in her head and she cooks and bakes on auto-pilot so when getting information over the phone we get instructions like ‘add a little bit of this’ as opposed to ‘add a table spoon…’ and ‘cook for a little while…’ instead of ‘simmer for 15 minutes…’. So when in doubt I turned to the interweb to see what other recipes had to say about the matter.
Now Alice I know you are reading this and I am sure mine don’t compare to yours but I did my best and there were no leftovers so I think I passed the test! Also i made a couple of variations just to suit our preferences.
So first off – we went to Little Portugal and picked up a Salt Cod. The one we got was huge so i cut it in half and have the leftover piece in the freezer for next time. I put the fish in a bowl of water to start soaking the salt out – i changed the water after about an hour (you can visibly see the salt in the water at first)
Really you should soak the fish overnight but I forgot so after a couple of hours I put the fish in a pot with fresh water (again) and brought the water to a boil then let it simmer for 15 minutes or so, then repeated that process again. I got this tip from the interweb and it worked great. After the second boil I could flake the fish by hand – which is what you’re going for.
While the fish was soaking I was busy chopping potatoes and setting them to boil. (just like you would boil any potato – until tender, about a half hour-ish)
And I diced a couple of onions but instead of leaving them raw i sauteed them in a healthy does of butter until they turned a bit clear.
Then I mashed the potatoes and added the satueed onion (butter and all, no need to drain) and mixed that all together. Then i flaked the salt cod into the mixture (remove any bones if necessary) by hand and mixed it all up together. There’s enough salt left over in the cod that you don’t need to add any more so i just cracked some fresh pepper into the mix and left it at that. Then i formed the fish cakes by hand – this is completely up to your own preference. Mr Content and I prefer them really crispy on the outside and proper potato-y on the inside so i made them round and thick for maximum pan contact (aka crispy exterior). Now Alice would have added flour to the whole mixture before forming the cakes but I found i didn’t need the flour, they stuck together just fine without. And then I fried em up in bacon fat. But you could use butter too and get the same result. I just like to fry anything possible in bacon fat when the opportunity presents itself.
Ta-Da! Newfoundland style fish cakes;
So here’s the ingredients, sort of;
- About 6 to 8 white potatoes (depending on how you like your potato to fish ratio)
- About half of a big slab of salt cod
- 2 small yellow onions, diced.
- Pepper to taste.
- Some Butter for sauteing
- Some more butter or some bacon fat for frying
Also I would like to add that in this quantity i ended up freezing half the cakes for a second quick fry dinner in the near future and we still had enough leftovers from the first fry to have for breakfast the next morning with eggs. Best breakfast ever. Trust me.