I did not eat a lot of fish when I was growing up. Partly it was because my mom isn't a fish fan and partly (well, mostly) it was due to fish being expensive and not easy to buy back in Soviet Union. I remember occasions when my grandma was able to procure (yes, procure, not buy) a whole Carp, she then pan-fried it whole with lots of salt and onion, the skin would crisp up and soak up all the onion flavour and in turn the onions would half caramelize, half deep fry in oil and be absolutely tasty. The fish was white and soft and delicious, but my favourite part was actually fins, which were so crispy and addictive.
My mom's fish specialty was Fish Cakes, she didn't bake them like I did for this recipe, she pan fried them and we ate them with lots of squeezed lemon juice on top. I loved them hot and cold out of the fridge too. She'd make a really big batch of the little morsels and we'd enjoy them for a few days. This is not my mom's recipe, but it's reminiscent of it. I used similar flavours if I remember correctly. One of those days I'll ask her for her version and share it here.
I've been wanting to make fish cakes for a few months now, but every time I went to my local grocery store I came home with some other source of protein because fish was so expensive. Until it finally hit me - if I'm processing the fish into almost a paste and then baking it, why do I need fresh filets? Why did it take me almost six months to come up with that? I don't know! Anyway, I finally realized that frozen fish is the way to go and oh, am I happy!
I made them into hamburger shapes and baked them to save up a little bit on the calories and time. These can be made into smaller patties to serve as an appetizer. Alternatively, the fish mixture can be baked in a loaf pan, just like a meatloaf. The resulting fish loaf can be eaten sliced, the texture would be a little bit different, but flavour would still be great. You can eat these cold as well, just squeeze some lemon juice over them and dip in a little bit of horseradish.
~9 medium sized cakes
Cod filets - 2 pounds
Egg - 1 extra-large or large
Panko bread crumbs - 1/2 cup
Dill - 10 g (handful)
Lemon zest - 1/2 lemon
Lemon juice - 1/2 lemon
Lemon pepper - 1 teaspoon
Lemon salt - 1/2 teaspoon
Onion powder - 1 teaspoon
Mustard powder - 1/4 teaspoon
Oil spray (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- In a bowl of a food processor combine dill, lemon zest and all the spices. Process until dill is chopped.
- If using frozen fish, squeeze excess liquid out of defrosted filets. Add fish to the food processor and pulse until everything is incorporated and the fish is finely chopped.
- Add lemon juice, egg and process again to mix everything together.
- Add Panko breadcrumbs and pulse a few more times until mixture is uniform.
- Line baking sheet with parchment paper and form medium sized patties similar to the shape of a medium size hamburger.
- If using, spray with a little bit of oil, it'll help the cakes to brown.
- Bake for 50 min.
- If my mom ate these, she'd say that there's not enough dill. If you love dill like I do, add more than the recipe calls for!
- As I mentioned many times, I don't use a lot of salt, so this may not be enough here, adjust accordingly.