Saturday, May 21, 2011

Fish Cakes, Fish/Shrimp Cakes

Fish cakes are a great summertime meal!

Here in the South, temperatures are rising. Today it will be 86; tomorrow, over 90! Fish cakes are a perfect summer-time dinner or late lunch. They're light, yet kind of rich in their own way. They fry easily on the stove, so no messy grill or hot oven. And they freeze beautifully! They also make a great appetizer.

Use skinless filets. I usually use haddock. If using frozen, allow to thaw and squeeze out some of the water between paper towels. I used cod for this batch because it was on sale. Sometimes I throw in a piece or two of salmon (it looks pretty). Before adding to the food processor, hold back a filet or two to coarsely chop by hand. I like the fish in my cakes on the chunky side.

  • 1 pound white fish filets
  • 1/3 cup thawed frozen spinach, squeezed dry
  • 1-2 teaspoons finely minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons green onions, white and green parts, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon seasoning (I use Old Bay's)
  • 1 tablespoon Fines Herbes (optional)
  • Pinch of cayenne or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 3/4-1 cup fresh bread crumbs (not dried)*, coarsely chopped
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • Dried breadcrumbs and/or Panko for dredging
  • Olive oil/butter for frying

Cut fish into chunks and add to food processor. Pulse on and off just until chopped and still "fluffy." Really, you don't want a paste. If desired, and just in case, hold back on one or two filets and coarsely chop by hand and then add to finished fish from processor.

Place processed fish in a large bowl. Add minced garlic, chopped green onions, seasonings, spinach and bread crumbs. Using your fingers, mix and incorporate without pressing down to keep things loose and fluffy. Add the egg and lightly mix with a fork.

I like to refrigerate this for a few hours to let the flavors build, but it's not necessary.

Using a 1/2-cup scoop, form into patties being careful not to compress them too much. They should be about 3/4 to 1-inch thick and about 2.5-3 inches in diameter.

Lightly coat each cake in dried bread crumbs or Panko bread crumbs (or both). If freezing, wrap each in cling wrap and freeze.

Add a few tablespoons of olive oil and a bit of butter to a non-stick pan over medium heat. Add cakes and brown, about five minutes per side.

You may also add freshly chopped shrimp to the mixture. I usually use half as much shrimp as I do fish (1/4 pound shrimp to 1/2 pound fish, for example). And I like to keep the shrimp a bit chunky, too, so I can bite into it.

To fry a frozen fish cake, proceed as above but use lower heat and use a cover for part of the cooking process to allow the steam to help cook the cake. You may need to turn them more than once.

Serve with fresh corn off the cob and green onions: Kitchen Bounty: Corn Off the Cob with Green Onions

*to make fresh bread crumbs, add some slices of firm bread to the food processor and pulse. Freeze any leftovers. When I first began making these years and years ago, I add Pepperidge Farm Seasoned Stuffing (not Stove Top Stuffing) to the fish mix and allowed it to sit for several hours to soften the bread chips. I'll have to re-visit that one.