I grew up eating salt cod in every which way. Over rice with a tasty sauce, for breakfast with avocado and cucumber, fritters, cooked down and spiced up and served on Jamaican hardough bread. But today I would like to share with you my recipe for salt cod fish cakes.
When I was much younger, I assumed salt cod was a Caribbean staple, it was something most of my family ate, and I never saw salt cod on a menu or on cooking shows in London. Little did I know salt cod is eaten in many countries especially those linked to the Atlantic Ocean.
Now that cod has become severely over-fished it has resulted in markets offering alternatives such as salted pollack and hake, and in my opinion poor substitutes. A good market will provide large thick slabs of salt cod and once soaked in water it turns into a very delicate piece a fish full of flavor, a result not so easily replicated by alternatives.
I’ve seen salt cod fish cakes appear more and more on restaurant menus. They have become high brow appetizers and are usually served with a creamy sauce, such as aioli. I made a simple spicy mayo instead to save on time. Salt cod fish cakes should be soft inside and very crispy on the outside. The best way to achieve this is to deep fry them. Make sure to use very hot oil, just dip them in the oil for 30-45 secs and you should arrive at wonderful examples such as these.
You can pair an ice cold beer or a lemon and/or lime based cocktail with salt cod fish cakes, this dish needs a drink that can stand up to its complex flavors and spicy dip.
If you plan on serving to a crowd, make sure you make plenty!
- 3 medium potatoes (peeled and cut into quarters)
- 3/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 1/2 cups salt cod (cooked and flaked)
- 1/2 cup onions (minced)
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro (chopped)
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
- 1 egg (beaten)
- 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp hot Sriracha
- Medium saucepan
- Deep fryer with appropriate amount of oil as guided by manufacturer
- Place potatoes into saucepan and cover with cold water allowing the water to rise above the potatoes by approx. 1 inch.
- Add 1/4 tsp kosher salt and place on a high heat until water is boiling, and then lower heat to a simmer and cover.
- Cook for 10 mins or until potatoes are soft when pierced
- Drain water from potatoes, add butter, then mash until lump free.
- Add salt cod to mash potatoes, then add onions, cilantro, ground pepper, the rest of the salt (1/2 tsp) and egg, and then mix thoroughly until ingredients are completely combined.
- Scatter breadcrumbs on a plate and then grab approx. two tbsp of the combined ingredients and mould into a circular cake. Its should be at least 1 inch thick and 2 1/2 inches wide.
- Place fish cake into breadcrumbs and make sure the fish cake is completely breaded and then set aside.
- Repeat cake moulding process until you have enough fish cakes for frying in your deep fryer, place them in the fryer basket, just one layer at a time.
- Lower into oil and then cook for 30 for 40 secs and then remove and transfer to plate lined with a paper towel to absorb the excess oil.
- Repeat until you fried all of the fish cakes.
- Combine ingredients and whip with a fork until combined. Add more or less Sriracha according to taste.
- You will need to prepare the salt cod for this recipe and I would suggest you do this the day before you plan on making salt cod fish cakes. Soak salt cod for at least 12 hours and change the water once or twice. Once the salt cod has been soaked and most of its salty taste has disappeared, cook on medium heat until it starts to flake. Remove from heat and then fork salt cod until flaked as fine as you can get it.