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Salt Cod and Potato Cakes

Yield: about 20 2-oz. cakes

  • 3/4 lb. salt cod filet, soaked 24 hours, drained*
  • 1 1/2 lbs. Russet or Yukon Gold potatoes (2-3 large potatoes)
  • 2 Tbs. chopped parsley
  • 1 egg
  • 2-3 tsp. lemon juice, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Oil or butter for the pan

Peel, halve and boil the potatoes in salted water until tender.

Pick any bones from the cod. Cover with water, bring to a boil, and cook until flaky. Drain.

Mash the potatoes until lump-free with a simple hand masher. Add the cod,  beaten egg and parsley, season with pepper, and continue to mash until you have an almost-smooth mixture. Taste, and if needed, season, and add a little lemon juice to brighten the flavor. Make small cakes, heat a non-stick or well-seasoned cast iron pan over medium heat, and add a layer of oil or butter. Fry the cakes until the bottom is browned, turn with a spatula, and cook the other side. Serve hot, with a little tartar sauce.

*Want to make your own salt cod? It’s easy! All you need is “true” cod (I use Alaskan) and kosher salt. Simply bury the cod in a heavy layer of salt, and refrigerate 24 hours. I use a whole box of salt for 5 lbs. cod. Rinse the fish, warp in cheesecloth and tie it with twine, and refrigerate. I hang it in the walk-in, and always have some on hand. If you have no way to hang it, store it on a rack in the fridge so it gets air circulation all the way around.

Tartar Sauce

(one excellent accompaniment to the cakes, but you could make a simple hot cream sauce instead)

  • 2 Tbs. pickles or cornichon, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. finely chopped shallot (or more to taste)
  • 1 Tbs. capers, chopped
  • 1 Tbs. chopped parsley
  • ½ tsp. powdered dry mustard (Colemans)
  • Dash Tabasco (leave out if you don’t like spice!)
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Juice of ½ lemon, or 1 Tbs. white wine vinegar
  • ½ cup Best Foods mayonnaise

Combine ingredients. Taste and adjust seasonings. Keeps for up to a month in the refrigerator.