3.06.2012

Fish Cakes with Tartar Sauce

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I see crab cakes on a menu, and I am immediately drawn to them. As I've expressed here before, my love for crab cakes runs deep. So when I was flipping threw The Best of America's Test Kitchen, a recent Christmas gift (that I am still making my way through) ,and came across a recipe for cod cakes that claimed to rival the best crab cakes, I was hooked. Nothing else in the book mattered.

The problem I have with America's Test Kitchen, is their long, drawn out recipes, and even longer articles. I'm a reader, but those epic explanations just don't keep my attention. And, on another level, I get angry and jealous thinking about these happy kitchen people, spending their days in that great big house, somewhere near Boston, just cooking all day. Getting to eat all their trials. I mean seriously, what kind of life is that!? But this recipe was interesting, so I put my jealousy aside, and read through it. Then I decided to have a dinner party.

As not to bore you with my drawn out review of this recipe, I'll keep things short. The cod cakes were delicious. Can't complain at all about the flavor. They were moist and full of flavor. BUT. They were not crab cakes. I mean cod is great and all. But crab is better. Also, some of my cakes fell apart. So get back to the drawing board, Chris Kimball! Actually, I think all I needed was a bit more bread crumbs. That probably would have done the trick.

I do want to mention this was also my first time making tartar sauce. Who knew it was so easy? Not me. It was really good too. I shall never buy tartar sauce again! I made it again a week later, when the husband and I enjoyed the leftover crab cakes. And with my second attempt, I got a bit fancy, adding pickled onions and dill mustard. But the original recipe from the book was just as tasty.

I will end this post with a call to action -- make these fish cakes with the tartar sauce. And do it soon.
Fish Cakes
Serves 4

1 lb skinless cod fillets, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/4 cup plan dried bread crumbs (I would suggest adding more, a few tablespoons)
1 large egg white
1 shallot, minced
3 tbsp minced fresh parsley
chives (this was my addition, I just added a couple, minced)
2 tbsp light mayo
4 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/4 all-purpose flour
vegetable oil
lemon wedges

1) Pulse your cod in the food processor, in batches, until you have a mix of minced and coarsely chopped pieces. Don't over process. Sprinkle with bread crumbs.
2) Whisk egg white, shallot, parsley, mayo, mustard, lemon juice, salt and pepper together in a bowl, and fold into the cod mixture.
3) Divide cod mixture into 4 equal parts, and shape into cakes. Transfer to a plate, cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours. I did about 4 hours, and they were nice and cold.
4) Spread flour into a shallow dish, dredge cakes in flour, shaking off any excess. Heat oil in a nonstick pan, and cook fish cakes for about 8-10 minutes, over medium heat until well browned.

Tartar Sauce
Makes 1/2 cup

1/4 cup mayo
2 tbsp sour cream
4 large cornichons, minced, plus 2 tsp cornichon juice (substitute with dill pickles)
2 tbsp finely chopped red onion
1 tbsp capers, minced
1/8 tsp pepper
water (if needed, I didn't use any)

1) Mix all ingredients, thin with water if necessary.
2) Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

Will keep in the fridge for a day.

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