After experimenting for a week with different renditions of fish cakes, I found that fish cakes can be quite wonderful, or they can be as dry as cardboard. It came down to two variations… what kind of fish was used, and how thoroughly the fish was broken down in the mixing process.
**NOTE: I forgot to add Panko to the ingredient list for the recipe in the original post. Please note that these need at least some breadcrumbs to help them stay together and give them a crust. Sorry to those who may have made it with the original recipe!!
The Good Fish Cakes:
Inspired by one of Gordon Ramsey’s shows, I first made the fish cakes with fresh-frozen filets, in this case a mix of catfish and cod (he used black cod, but I used the filets I happened to have in the freezer). They turned out wonderful. They were flaky, tender and mellow in flavor, which was enhanced by a spicy chile sauce and a tangy tartar sauce.
The Horrible Fish Cakes:
My diet partner in crime (aka husband) thought they were a little too mellow and might be better with tuna. So, being the accommodating sort, I tried it with canned tuna. They were so dry they were almost inedible! I thought maybe it was because I used too much tuna, or because it was processed in the blender for too long.
The Marginal Fish Cakes:
Based on the above hypothesis (too much fish and too much blending), I tried again, only this time with canned salmon and no blender action. They were marginally better than the cardboard, but still terribly dry. I think the texture of the canned fish is just so meaty from being packed and compressed into cans that it is difficult for the tender nature of the fish to come through. I have made crab cakes with canned crab before, and they were pretty good, but the crab is packed into the cans much more loosely. And even with the loose packing, the crab cakes didn’t hold a candle to the fresh-frozen filet cakes.
Recipe for Spicy Catfish Cakes (the good one):
- 2 Tbsp grapeseed oil
- 2 lbs. skinless fish filets, cut into small pieces
- 2 large eggs
- 3 Tbsp scallions, sliced thinly on an angle
- 3 Tbsp Italian parsley leaves, chopped
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
- pinch of coriander (1/4 tsp)
- 1 tsp chipotle powder, (or any chile powder)
- squeeze of fresh lime juice (I used juice from 2 lime wedges)
- 1/4 tsp fish sauce
- 3/4 cup Panko crumbs
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees F
- Combine all ingredients in large bowl and mash together with fork or hands until well blended (alternatively, you can combine in blender fitted with blade attachment and just pulse lightly about 5 pulses – do not overblend!). What you are aiming for is a mixture of small, medium and large chunks of fish.
- Using your hands, form small balls of the fish mixture into patties about 1/2 inch thick and about 2-3 inches in diameter (about 1/3 cup each).
- Heat 2 Tbsp oil in large skillet (cast iron if you have it), until lightly smoking (about 3 minutes). Place patties in skillet starting at 6:00 direction and moving clockwise, so you remember which ones to turn over first. Do not crowd the patties; leave a little room between each one.
- Cook patties until browned and crispy on one side (about 5 minutes). Do not move them around while they are browning. Flip, starting at the 6:00 fish cake, and brown about 3 minutes or less on the other side
- Remove the fish cakes to a baking sheet and place in oven to keep warm. Add more oil to skillet if needed and repeat process with remaining patties.
Two Dipping Sauces – Tartar Sauce and Spicy Vinegar Sauce:
Combine following ingredients in bowl and stir until thoroughly blended. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 3 Tbsp capers
- 3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp dill pickles, finely chopped
- 1 Tbsp scallion, chopped
- freshly ground pepper, about 1/4 tsp
Spicy Dipping Sauce:
Combine following ingredients in bowl, stir, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
- 1-2 Tbsp fish sauce, moderate amount for saltiness
- 1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
- lime juice, fresh from 2 wedges
- 1 Tbsp coriander
- sugar (use sugar to taste if not on slow carb diet, otherwise exclude it)
The Slow Carb Diet is great, and I am definitely benefiting from it, but I am trying to incorporate more fish as the proteins. Any ideas you might have would certainly be welcomed!Google+