Everyone talks about crab cakes, but no one ever talks about fish cakes. Why is that, do you think? I can’t figure it out.
Fish cakes are amazingly delicious, much less costly to make than crab cakes, crispy on the outside, moist and savory on the inside. Serve them with a spicy, tangy remoulade and a squeeze of lime juice and life is just pretty darn good for that moment. Pair one with a cold beer or a chilled glass of white wine and we go from “pretty darn good” to “heck yeah!”.
Remember how much we loved those crunchy frozen fish sticks when we were kids? Well, this is the healthier, more sophisticated, endlessly more scrumptious adult version of that childhood favorite. Tell me, how can you resist that allure? You can’t, so we’re going to make a batch!
let’s see what goes into making these fish cakes with remoulade
I see fish cake recipes that use potato to make the patties. I don’t because I want my fish cakes to be reminiscent of a crab cake…light and flaky. Potatoes, although delicious, can make things a little bit heavier. That’s why I don’t include them.
I like to use a meaty, flaky firm fish, which is why I chose cod. You can use hake or any fish you like. I’ve made it with salmon before too. Trust me, it’s all good.
By the way, you may be asking why my lemon juice looks like a melting ice cube. That’s because it is a melting ice cube.
I have neighbors who have lemon trees that produce ginormous lemons. And every year they seem to have more and more fruit. For the last couple of years, they have generously given me lots of these huge lemons. And for two years in a row, I juice them, freeze them in ice trays, then pop them into gallon zip lock bags and store them in the fridge. I end up with months and months of fresh lemon juice whenever I need it without having to run to the store. Pretty nifty, huh?
Gosh, I love a good remoulade sauce, don’t you? There’s just something so Louisiana about remoulade. Creamy, tart and tangy, savory, with as much bite as you want to give it. It’s amazing on fried seafood. I much prefer it to tartar sauce.
Let’s start by making the remoulade. That way, it can sit in the fridge getting nice and robust while we make the fish cakes.
Are you ready for all the steps to make the remoulade? Ok, here we go…throw everything in a bowl and stir. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add more hot sauce if you want a little more kick. Done!
Now, let’s go make some fish cakes!
Chop up your fish into 1/4 inch chunks.
The same fish cake recipes that include potato also instruct you to cook your fish and then shred the cooked fish before preparing the patties. I don’t know why unless it is so they can taste the mixture for seasoning. I want to keep all the beautiful fish juices in the patties, not lose them to another cooking pan. So, I mix all the ingredients with the raw fish and then microwave a pinch to see if it needs anything else.
Sauté the onion, garlic, and sweet peppers in a little bit of butter. Let it cool for a bit.
Add the ingredients to the fish, then pour in the sautéed veggies.
Mix gently until everything is firmly distributed. Then shape the patties, coat them in bread crumbs, and store them in the fridge on a parchment-covered dish while you heat the frying oil.
Heat up about 1/2 to 3/4 inch of oil in a heavy skillet, set the burner to just under medium. The oil can’t get too hot or the outside will brown before the centers are cooked.
Don’t crowd the pan. I fry them in batches of 3 or 4. That makes it easier to control the oil temperature.
Fry both sides until they are a beautiful dark, golden brown. Transfer to a paper-covered oven-safe dish and hold in a “keep warm” oven until ready to serve. If you don’t serve them right away, flip them over in the oven every now and then so that the bottom sides don’t lose their crispy goodness.
Serve them nice and warm, with those lime wedges we talked about, along with your beautiful remoulade. Then try to eat just one. Ok, that was a silly thing to say. Why would you want to eat just one?
So, so pretty! So, so good!
Ok, let’s try this, instead. START with just one and see where it goes from there.
- FOR THE REMOULADE
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 1 medium garlic, diced
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon chopped chives
- 2 tablespoons dill relish
- 1 tablespoon capers
- ½ teaspoon yellow mustard
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- 1 teaspoon chili sauce
- 2 tablespoon (or to taste) hot sauce, such as Louisiana
- FOR THE FISH CAKES
- 1 pound cod filets, chopped (or other fish of choice)
- 4 tablespoons bread crumbs, plus more for dredging the fish cakes
- 1 tablespoon butter
- ½ cup finely chopped onions
- ¼ cup finely chopped sweet peppers
- 1 medium garlic, diced
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- ¼ cup parsley
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste
- Canola oil for frying.
- The remoulade can be made a day or hours in advance.
- In a small bowl, mix the remoulade ingredients until well blended.
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Then cover and store in the refrigerator.
- For the fish cakes, sauté the onion, garlic, and sweet peppers in the butter until well softened. Allow to cool slightly.
- Then mix the chopped fish with the sautéed vegetables and the other ingredients, gently folding so as not to break up the fish.
- Make sure all ingredients are evenly distributed.
- Microwave a small pinch of fish to taste for seasoning.
- Add salt, pepper, and/or cayenne to taste.
- Shape into patties 3 inches in diameter.
- Dredge in bread crumbs and store in the refrigerator until the oil is ready.
- Heat ½ to ¾ inch of oil in a heavy skillet, with flame just under medium heat.
- When the oil is ready, fry the fish cakes in batches of 3 or 4.
- Fry until the bottom is a dark golden brown, then flip and fry the other side.
- Transfer to a paper covered oven-safe dish and keep in a warm oven until ready to serve.
- Flip the cakes occasionally in the oven if not serving right away to keep the bottoms from becoming soggy.
- Serve with the remoulade sauce and some lime wedges.