Greek Cod Cakes with Dill Mayonnaise
Although I’ve spent a lot of time over the years working with shellfish – everything from oysters to mussels, clams to crab, prawns to scallops – I’ve always been a bit hesitant to engage in culinary experimentation with any type of aquatic fish other than salmon. The few times I’d tried to whip up a nice fish meal in years past, I was always disappointed with the result; bland flavour profiles, mushy texture and a lot of money spent on ingredients with very little to show for it had discouraged me from delving into most fish recipes in the past. But as this blog is all about giving new recipes a try and sharing my experiences in the kitchen, I decided to give these little cod cakes a go.
I don’t know what is exactly ‘Greek’ about these, but I’ve copied both the recipe and its title directly from the December 2010 issue of Cooking Light magazine. Other types of fish – and crab – may be substituted for the cod, if desired. Although the recipe calls for fresh fish, anyone that has ever visited a fishmonger knows that freshly caught fish of any type can be quite expensive. I used flash frozen cod instead (frozen in liquid nitrogen or a combination of dry ice and ethanol, to prevent the formation of ice crystals within the flesh of the fish), and I did not find the taste altered in any way. Fully defrost the fish prior to cooking and do not use fillets or steaks frozen for longer than 1 month.
Both the cakes and the dill mayonnaise sauce came out beautifully and made a lovely summer lunch with a small green salad and fresh lemonade. These take about 30 minutes to prepare from start to finish, and hold up well in the refrigerator as leftovers for about 1 to 2 days.
Buon appetito – or as the Greeks would say, καλή όρεξη!
GREEK COD CAKES WITH DILL MAYONNAISE
4 cups fresh milk
2 pounds fresh cod fillets, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 cup panko breadcrumbs, divided
1/4 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tbsp grated white onion
2 1/2 tsp grated fresh lemon rind
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
3 medium eggs, lightly beaten
2 fresh garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, divided
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
Fresh lemon wedges, to serve
1/2 cup canola-based mayonnaise
2 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tsp chopped fresh dill
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp minced fresh garlic
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1. Bring milk to a simmer over medium heat in a large, heavy saucepan. Add fish, cover and simmer for 5 minutes or until fish flakes easily when pierced with a fork. Remove from heat, drain well and let cool for 5 minutes.
2. In a non-metallic mixing bowl, combine cooked fish, 1/2 cup breadcrumbs, parsley, onion, lemon rind, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, eggs and garlic. Stir in 2 tablespoons lemon juice.
3. Divide fish mixture into 16 equal portions, shaping into a 1/2-inch thick patty. Dredge patties in remaining 1/2 cup breadcrumbs, pressing to coat well on both sides.
4. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 4 patties to pan and cook for 4 minutes on each side or until golden. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels. Repeat the procedure 3 more times with remaining olive oil and patties. Drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons lemon juice.
5. To prepare sauce, combine canola mayonnaise with remaining ingredients. Stir well to fully incorporate. Serve fish cakes with sauce and fresh lemon wedges.