Cod Cakes

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Servings: 4 to 6 servings as a main course, 6 to 8 servings as an appetizer
Preheat: 0
Prep Time: 1 hour, plus chilling
Source: Sam Sifton

Cod cakes are terrific with cod, but can be made with any white-fleshed fish. Poach the fillets in bay-leaf-scented water, then flake the cooled meat into a New Englandish mirepoix of sautéed onions and celery. Eggs and cracker crumbs will help bind everything together below a drift of spice. Make sure to leave some time to chill the resulting patties in the refrigerator – the cold will help them set up so they don’t fall apart in the sauté pan. A light smear of mayonnaise on the exterior of the cakes before you fry them will encourage the most glorious crust. Serve with a thatch of green salad, a bowl of chowder or a neat pile of slaw.


4 peppercorns
1 bay leaf
1 lemon, cut into eighths
1 pound cod fillets, or other white flaky fish
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 ribs celery, trimmed, peeled and diced
1 medium-size yellow onion, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 heaping tablespoon mayonnaise, homemade or store-bought
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 eggs
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning, Lawry’s Seasoned Salt or 1 teaspoon paprika and 1 teaspoon red-pepper flakes, or to taste
1 ‘‘sleeve’’ unsalted saltine crackers, crushed, or 1 heaping cup panko bread crumbs
½ bunch parsley, roughly chopped
¼ cup neutral oil, like canola


Fill a shallow, wide pan with high sides with about an inch of water, and set it over high heat. Add the peppercorns, bay leaf and 1 section of the lemon to the water, and allow it to come to a bare simmer. Place the fish into this poaching liquid, and cook, barely simmering, until the flesh has just begun to whiten all the way through, approximately 6 to 8 minutes. Using a wide spatula, carefully remove the fish from the water, and set aside to cool.

Empty the pan, and return it to the stove, over medium-high heat. Add the butter, and allow it to melt, swirling it around the pan. When the butter foams, add the celery, onions and garlic, and sauté, stirring often, until the vegetables soften and the onions turn translucent, then transfer them to a large bowl.

In a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, mustard, eggs, salt, pepper and seasoning salt (or paprika and hot-pepper flakes), then add this mixture to the bowl with the sautéed vegetables, pour the crushed saltines or bread crumbs over them and stir to combine. Add the parsley, and stir again.

Flake the cooked fish into the binding sauce carefully, keeping the flakes as whole as you can manage, then gather them into small balls, and form them into patties, 4-6 for a main course, 6-8 for an appetizer. Place them on a sheet pan or platter, cover loosely with plastic wrap and transfer them to the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to set.

Set a large sauté pan over high heat, and add to it the neutral oil. When the oil is shimmering, remove the fish cakes from the refrigerator, and carefully sauté the patties until they are golden brown, approximately 4 to 5 minutes a side. Work in batches if necessary. (A small smear of mayonnaise on the exterior of the patties will give them a crisp crust.) Serve them alone, or with greens dressed in a lemony vinaigrette, with the remaining wedges of lemon.

San Francisco Cioppino

Servings: 4-6
Prep Time: 45 min
Cook Time: 1 1/4 hrs
Source: Food Network Kitchens
recipeNotes: Easy to double
served New Years Eve 2011

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups sliced onion
2 tablespoons minced garlic
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 cup dry white wine
2 1/2 pounds vine-ripened tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 red bell pepper, trimmed, seeded, and diced
2 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
3 cups fish stock or 1 cup bottled clam broth mixed with 2 cups chicken broth, homemade or low-sodium canned
1/4 cup julienned fresh basil leaves

12 little neck clams
1 cooked Dungeness crab, chopped into large pieces, or 2 Alaskan king crab claws, cracked and quartered
12 mussels
1 pound large shrimp, butterflied in the shell, and deveined
1/2 pound cleaned squid, cut into rings, and tentacles halved
1/2 pound sea scallops, trimmed, or firm fleshed fish, like halibut, cut into 1-inch cubes
Serving suggestion: hot crusty sourdough bread

Make the stew base. Heat a large stew pot or Dutch oven over medium heat with the olive oil. Add the onions and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, season with salt and pepper to taste, and cook 2 minutes more. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute. Add the wine, and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits in the pot. Simmer the wine until reduced by about half. Add the tomatoes, peppers, parsley, thyme, and bay leaf and cook for 5 minutes. Add the stock or broths; bring to a boil, then adjust the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook the base, with a cover slightly ajar, for 30 minutes. (The base may be prepared ahead up to this point, refrigerated for 1 day or frozen for 1 month).

Finish the Cioppino. Bring the base to a simmer. Add the basil and the clams, and cook covered, over high heat, for 5 minutes, or just until the clams open. Add the crab and cook for 1 minute. Add the mussels, shrimp, squid, and scallops. Cook, stirring frequently, until the mussels open, the shrimp curl, and squid and scallops are just firm, about 3 minutes. Serve in large heated bowls with plenty of crusty bread.

Squid with Thai Basil

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 20 min
Inactive Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 10 min
A wonderfully delicious Thai-inspired dish. Squid is stir-fried with garlic, onions, green peppers and Thai basil. Serve for lunch or dinner with a steaming bowl of white rice.

2 squid tubes, halved, scored and cut into bite-sized pieces
salt and pepper, to taste
cornflour, as needed
2 Tbsp oil
1 Tbsp oil
2 tsp chopped garlic
2 spring onions, chopped into 2.5cm (1″”) pieces
1 shallot, diced
1 med onion, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1 red or green pepper, chopped
3 Tbsp fish sauce
1 Tbsp hot pepper sauce
1/2 tsp sugar
1 Tbsp water
30g (1oz) Thai basil leaves

Season the squid with salt, pepper and cornflour. Let sit for 15 minutes.

Heat a large frying pan with 2 tablespoon oil over high heat. Stir-fry the squid until cooked through and opaque, 3-5 minutes. Set aside.

Heat the same pan with 1 tablespoon oil over high heat. Sauté the garlic, spring onions and shallot until aromatic, 2-3 minutes. Add the onion and salt; cook until soft, 3-4 minutes.

Stir in the green pepper, fish sauce, hot pepper sauce, sugar and water. Allow to heat through, 1-2 minutes. Stir in the squid and basil, then serve.

Sancocho – Fish and Potato Stew

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 30 min
recipeNotes: From Jose’ Andres “”Made in Spain””

For the mojo sauce

3 garlic cloves
1/4 tsp cayenne (or more to taste)
1/2 teaspoon sweet pimenton (spanish smoked paprika)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon spanish extra-virgin olive oil

For the stew

1 bay leaf
1 small spanish onion, peeled and quartered
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 2- inch strips
6 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 pound yukon gold potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 fennel bulb – sliced in quarters (optional)
sea salt to taste
4 6-ounce sea bass fillets

Prepare the sauce: Using a mortar and pestle, mash the garlic, guindilla pepper, pimenton, and salt into a paste, Keep turning the mortar clockwise while mashing and scrape down the paste from the sides of the mortar with the pestle, Slowly pour in the olive oil and continue mashing until the oil is well incorporated, then set the sauce aside,
Prepare the stew: Put the bay leaf, onion, bell pepper, parsley, potatoes, and sweet potatoes into a medium saucepan, add 4 cups of water, and bring to a boil over high heat, Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until tender, about 20 minutes, Stir 1 teaspoon of the cooking liquid into the sauce in the mortar, Season to taste with more salt.
Season the sea bass with salt and add the fillets to the pan. Cook for 6 to 7 minutes or until the fillets are cooked through. Don’t let the liquid come to a boil once the fish is added.
The stew should cook low and slow so the fish doesn’t break apart in the broth. Transfer the fillets to serving bowls and ladle several ounces of broth over each. Place some potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, parsley, and red pepper around the fillets and top the fillets with a spoonful of the mojo sauce.

Snapper and Mango with Green Peppercorn Sauce

Servings: 4
Source: Gourmet, 7/81 pg 32


Rub two 1½ -pound snapper fillets with 2 teaspoons lime juice and dust them with 3 tablespoons flour seasoned with ¼ teaspoon salt and ? teaspoon white pepper. In a skillet heat 3 tablespoons unsalted butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil over moderately high heat until it is hot, add the snapper, and cook it for 4 to 5 minutes on each side, or until it just flakes when tested with a fork. Transfer the snapper with a slotted spatula to a platter and keep it warm.

In a skillet cook I large mango, peeled and sliced thin, in 2 tablespoons unsalted butter over moderate heat for 2 minutes and arrange it decoratively over the snapper. In the skillet cook 1 tablespoon drained whole green peppercorns or capers packed in water (available at specialty foods shops) and 2 teaspoons drained and bruised green peppercorns packed in water in 1 tablespoon unsalted butter for 1 minute. Add ½ cup heavy cream and simmer the mixture for 3 minutes. Spoon the sauce over the snapper and mango and garnish the dish with sprigs of watercress.

Smoked Trout Rillettes

Servings: 8
Source: Fine Cooking December 2000
These slightly smoky, velvety rillettes are as good tucked into an omelette as they are on freshly made croutons. But be advised, even so-called boneless smoked trout may harbor small bones, so keep a sharp eye as you mix.Serves six to eight.

2 boneless smoked trout, skin discarded (to yield about 8 oz.)
5 to 7 Tbs. crème fraîche (depending on how moist the trout is and on your personal taste)
3 Tbs. chopped fresh chives
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Remove any bones from the trout and break it up into small pieces. Add the crème fraîche and mix with a fork, taking care to shred rather than mash the trout. Fold in the chives and a generous amount of ground pepper. Serve with freshly made croutons or toasts.

Be gentle with your final folding to avoid bruising the chopped chives and to keep the flaky-chunky texture of the smoked trout.

Shrimp Cakes with Chili-Lime Cream Sauce

Servings: 6
Source: Bon Appétit
September 2005
Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bar, Maui
Bonnie Hillard of Washington, DC, writes: “”My sister and I stumbled across Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bar at the end of a day of shopping at the Kapalua Shops on Maui. We’d read about this popular spot in a guidebook, and we couldn’t resist stopping in for dinner. Everything was fabulous, especially the shrimp cakes we shared.””

16 uncooked large shrimp (about 1 pound), peeled, deveined
1 large egg
1 green onion, sliced
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pinch of ground black pepper
2 cups panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)

2 tablespoons (or more) peanut oil


Chili-Lime Cream Sauce

Coarsely chop shrimp in processor. Add egg, green onion, lemon juice, mustard, cilantro, hot pepper sauce, salt, and pepper. Blend in using on/off turns. Add 1 cup panko and blend in using on/off turns. Form mixture into twelve 3-inch-diameter cakes. Roll cakes in remaining 1 cup panko; transfer to waxed-paper-lined baking sheet. Refrigerate 10 minutes. (Can be made up to 4 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Heat 2 tablespoons peanut oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, fry cakes until cooked through and golden brown on both sides, adding more oil to skillet as needed, about 6 minutes.

Spoon 3 tablespoons Chili-Lime Cream Sauce onto each of 6 plates. Place 2 shrimp cakes on each and serve immediately.

Market tip: Unseasoned Japanese breadcrumbs called panko, give these shrimp cakes a light, crispy coating. Dry white breadcrumbs make a good substitute. Panko is available in the Asian foods section of some supermarkets and at Asian markets.

Sear-Roasted Halibut with Roasted Red Pepper Purée

Servings: 4
Preheat: 375
Source: Fine Cooking april/may 2007

2½ oz. roasted red pepper (about ½ large jarred roasted peppers)
2 Tbs. sherry vinegar
½ tsp. honey
1 medium clove garlic, peeled
¼ cup plus 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 6- to 7-oz. center cut, skin-on halibut fillets
1 Tbs. thinly sliced fresh chives or chopped marjoram


Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F.

In a blender, combine the red pepper, vinegar, and honey. Turn the blender on, let it run for a few seconds, and then drop the garlic through the feed hole. With the blender still running, slowly pour in the ¼ cup oil and process until the mixture is smooth, about 1 minute, stopping to scrape down the lid and sides of the blender jar as necessary. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Set the fish skin side down on a plate and season with salt and pepper. Heat the remaining 2 Tbs. oil in a large ovenproof skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium-high heat until shimmering. Put the fish skin side up in the skillet, and cook until well browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Flip the fish, turn off the heat, and transfer the pan to the oven. Roast until the fish is flaky, moist, and cooked through (use the tip of a paring knife to check), 5 to 7 minutes.

Transfer the fish to dinner plates, spoon about 1 Tbs. purse onto or around each piece, sprinkle with the chives or marjoram, and serve immediately with the remaining purée on the side.

Tip: Any leftover purée will keep, refrigerated, for up to 5 days. You can serve it with chicken or pork, or thin the purée with additional olive oil to make a dressing for steamed, sautéed, or roasted asparagus or a salad of romaine hearts, red onion, and hard-boiled egg.

Salmon in Crisp Rice Paper with Sweet & Spicy Sake Essence

Servings: 4
Source: Fine cooking 4,5/2003 pg 42

1 cup plus 2 Tbsp sake
1 cup mirin
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
2 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
2 lg cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp seeded and minced fresh serrano chile
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 Tbsp finely diced red bell pepper
2 Tbsp finely diced yellow bell pepper
2 Tbsp finely diced zucchini (skin side only)
2 Tbsp finely diced carrot
1 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp chopped fresh cilantro; more sprigs for garnish

4 skinless salmon fillets (ab 6 oz each)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup canola oil
4 rounds rice paper (8 to 10 inches)

To sear the salmon without the rice paper, follow the same directions for sautéing. Mirin (sweet Japanese rice wine) is available in the Asian food section of grocery stores. To make the sake essence: In a heavy, 2-quart saucepan, combine the sake, mirin, rice vinegar, ginger, garlic, and serrano, bring to a boil over high heat, and reduce to about ½ cup, 10 to 15 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté the peppers, zucchini, and carrot until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Add the soy sauce and vegetables to the sake essence; set aside and keep warm.

To prepare the salmon: Sprinkle both sides of each salmon fillet with salt and pepper and drizzle with a little of the vegetable oil, using 1 tablespoon total for the four fillets. Wrap each fillet in rice paper, following the discussion below.

Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons oil in a heavy, 12-inch skillet over medium to medium high heat until it’s hot and shimmering but not smoking. Put the wrapped fillets in the skillet without touching and sauté, turning to brown top and bottom, until the rice paper is golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side; don’t overcooks (If the fillets are very thick, you can also brown the sides for 1 minute each, but most fillets will be cooked through just barely opaque-if just the top and bottom are seared.) Transfer to paper towels and let drain.

Stir the chopped cilantro into the sake essence and spoon some onto each of four warm dinner plates. Put a salmon fillet in the center of each plate, top with a cilantro sprig, and serve at once.

How to Wrap fish in rice paper

·Completely immerse one round of rice paper in a bowl of warm water for a few seconds. Transfer to a work surface and let stand until pliable, about 30 seconds.

·Set a salmon fillet in the center of the softened rice paper. Fold the paper over one long side of the fillet, and then fold the paper in over the two short sides.

·Roll the fillet over until it’s completely enclosed by the rice paper. Set it aside with the seam side down. Repeat with the remaining fillets.

Make-ahead tips:

·The sake essence can be made several hours ahead and kept covered at room temperature. Wait to sauté and add the vegetables until just before serving.

·The fillets can be wrapped in rice paper up to two hours ahead. Put them on a plate in a single layer without touching. Drape with a damp paper towel, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate until ready to cook.