Comforting mashed potatoes are accented with tender fish, formed into rounds, and then sautéed until golden and crispy on the outside, creamy on the inside. I understand why fish cakes are a favorite way to use leftover cod in Nova Scotia. I was introduced to these marvelous treats on a trip to Halifax Canada earlier this fall, and ever since have been recreating them at home the evening after fish dinners.
I made them this week with salmon, but almost any fish would be good. To enhance the basic formula, I added a few spoonfuls of leftover basil and mint salsa verde and a few gratings of lemon peel. Dipped in panko (Japanese breadcrumbs), and then cooked in just a little olive oil until a crunchy crust forms, these are most agreeable.
The fishcakes don’t need much to accompany them. In Nova Scotia, the traditional trimmings are fried eggs for breakfast, or baked beans at dinner, and green tomato pickles or chowchow relish at either meal. However, I serve a lightly dressed fresh herb salad (available at grocery stores or farmers’ markets) instead, and put a dab of the salsa verde on top, and that is it.
Next time you are preparing fish, cook an extra piece, and then store it in the fridge to turn into a satisfying second meal.
Mashed Potato and Fish Cakes
- 12 ounces russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more as needed
- 1 small onion, chopped
- Leftover salsa verde
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 1 cup (about) flaked cooked fish (about 8 ounces)
- Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 egg, beaten to blend
- ½ cup glluten-free panko, Japanese breadcrumbs
- 4 cups herb salad
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- Steam the potatoes until tender, about 12 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl.
- Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a heavy medium skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until tender, about 7 minutes.
- Add the onion to the potatoes and mash together. Mix in 2 tablespoons of the salsa verde and lemon zest. Cool slightly. Mix in the fish and season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix in half of the egg (discard the remaining egg). If you have time, cover the potato mixture and chill for 30 minutes.
- Place the panko on a small plate. Form the potato mixture into 4 rounds, using about ½ cup potato mixture for each, and flatten to 1-inch thick cakes. Dip the cakes in panko, to coat on both sides. (The cakes can be made I day ahead. Cover and store in the refrigerator.)
- Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Add the fish cakes and sauté until well browned and cooked through, about 6 minutes on each side.
- Meanwhile, place the salad in a large bowl. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss. Add the lemon juice and toss. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
- Divide the salad between 2 plates. Top each with 2 fish cakes. Top the cakes with the remaining salsa verde and serve right away.