Cod Fish Cakes with a Hint of Mint

Cod is a great white fish. It falls to pieces when you cook it and is soft and with butter, lovely and rich. I love it just the way it is, but this time, I wanted something different.

For some reason, I was fixating on fish fingers in mind - the kind I had as a kid, frozen from a box with a captain on it. I'm not even sure why, other than the nostalgia of the idea. I hadn't really loved them, but after two or so decades and a palette renewed many times over (every seven years, they say), I was a little curious.

The result proved it once again: things just taste better when they don't come in a box (or from the frozen food section).

I should have called these Melt in your Mouth fishcakes. Seriously. No Captain Igloo will ever compare.

Ingredients (makes 8):
300g potatoes (weight after peeling)
180g cod fish
zest of 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 small onion, finely chopped
15 mint leaves, finely chopped
50ml white wine
50ml milk
150ml water
1/2 fish stock cube (for 250ml liquid)
2 pepper corns
1 bay leaf
2 eggs
bread crumbs
flour for dusting
vegetable oil for frying

1. Peel the potatoes and cut into quarters. Bring a pan of water to the boil and cook the potatoes for 10-15 minutes (depending on the size of your potatoes), until tender but not completely falling apart. Drain mash with a fork, then set aside to let them cool.

2. Place the codfish filet into a pan with the wine, milk, onion, water, peppercorns, bay leaf and stock cube. Simmer for about 8 minutes, until the fish is cooked. .

3. Drain the liquid (You can keep it, if you want, for a fishy sauce or fish-based soup. It actually tasted pretty good). Remove the bay leaf and peppercorns. Let the fish and onion cool off a little, then mix with the potatoes, lemon zest, chopped mint, and 1 tbsp lemon juice.

4. Separate the eggs. Take one of the yolks and mix it into the fish/potato mixture. If your potato-cod mixture is too crumbly, add the second egg yolk too. Set the mixture in the fridge for 10 minutes, just to make it a little easier to shape.

5. On a floured surface, with floured hands, separate the potato-fish mixture into 8-10 balls and flatten into round patties. You're going to need to add extra flour throughout this process.

6. When done, put on a plate and set in the fridge to cool off, half an hour or so should do it. Heat some vegetable oil in a heavy bottomed pan and fry the fish cakes for a few minutes on each side (how long exactly depends on how hot your oil is), just until it is golden-brown. When that colour, flip. Keep an eye on them so they don't turn too dark.

Serve with a tangy sauce. I had mine with a lemony mayo dressing, which was nice. Creme fraiche would have been even better. 


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