It feels so good to have Alex back in the kitchen. He's a better cook than I'll ever be—more intuitive, less recipe-driven. More sensory. Our best meals happen when we're in there together.
It's hard to get those moments now that we have Sally. But we got one yesterday. We had leftover cod in the fridge from a Friday fish feast. We had a container full of diced potatoes in water, a mistake from the other day. Sally was playing with her babydoll, and we had four dozen eggs from Victoria's girls. Alex said codcakes. We were rolling.
We boiled potatoes. We mashed them, mashed fish, whisked eggs. Alex diced an onion and we mashed that in too. We salted. We shaped the first batch and fried them in a pool of olive oil leftover from frying anchovy skeletons. Holy mackerel! So good. We ran out of that and fried the second batch in duck fat, in a few tablespoons of the twelve pounds we've had in our fridge for the past two years. Don't ask—one of the hazards of restaurant-ownership. You should see our saran wrap dispenser. Anyway. The duck fat gave the cakes a real crust. They seared up perfectly, golden and crisp. That stuff is miraculous! I missed the anchovy flavor, though. Next time I think I'd blend a few fillets into the mash mix.
We ate the cakes with baked beans and wilted arugula. Sally cleaned her plate, and then the little food-catching pocket at the bottom of her bib. Fisher cleaned the floor. Alex and I had seconds.
I think that about says it.
We used cod here, but you could use just about any white fish. This makes a pretty big batch—about 12 cakes—but you can easily scale up or down. Just keep in mind a ratio of 1 egg for every pound of potatoes and fish.
1 and 1/2 pounds cooked, diced potatoes
1 and 1/2 pounds cooked white fish
1 onion, finely diced
sea salt to taste
olive oil, butter, duck fat, or lard
Combine the potatoes, fish, eggs, onion, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Mash well with a fork. Taste for salt and adjust as needed. Shape into cakes.
Warm up a glug of fat—whatever you choose—in a large cast iron skillet. You want the heat on medium, and you want the pan to get nice and hot before you put a cake in. Once you do, be patient. You want to cook the cakes for at least 5 minutes per side, until they get a very dark, crisp crust. Alex covered the pan with a lid for about half the time, so that the middle would cook through.