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Christopher Greaves

Fish Cakes

It may not have escaped your attention that I shy away from recipes that say “Take one pound of fish and two medium-sized potatoes” or worse “Take one pound of fish and two medium-sized potatoes, three if they are smaller than usual”. Mixing discrete weights like “pounds” with vague and subjective measurements like “medium” is like mixing a pound of apples with a medium supply of oranges.

(If I got that right).

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Here are two packets of frozen cod; about the cheapest de-boned white fish on the market, I know, because I paid for them. I am making fish cakes on a whim, and did not take the packets out to thaw overnight (“If only I’d thawed ahead of time ….”) so they are sitting in the steel sink, an excellent heat source.

The packets each say 400 grams, so 800 grams of cod fillets is in the recipe.

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Three baking potatoes; they mash easily when boiled. This one weighs in at 320 grams. Together they came to 1,000 grams or roughly equal in weight to the fish.

If you are not in possession of Delicate Scientific Apparatus such as mine, hold the fish in one hand, the potatoes in the other, if they feel about the same weight, it’ll be all right.

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Two onions. This one is 180 grams.

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This one is 180 grams. Together them came to 360 grams. Roughly equal in weight to one packet of fish (Please refer to “Delicate Scientific Apparatus ” above).

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I cut each potato into six chunks and bring them slowly to the boil.

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While waiting I cut the onions into shards.

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The shards can sit in a bowl until needed. I think that today is the first time I’ve used the word “shards” twice in a single day (*) in a photo-essay on cooking fish cakes!

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Here’s the egg, bringing itself up to room temperature.

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Too late I remembered that these fillets are frozen inside an interior plastic bag; it would take the rest of my life to thaw them out insulated like that.

I extracted the inner bag from the outer bag and tossed the outer bag to one side (the outside!) and continued thawing the inner bag in a basin of water.

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The potatoes having boiled to a soft consistency I strain their water over the onions. There’s be enough heat to soften the shards (Three times!) enough to mix them in to the mixture later on.

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The potatoes I mash immediately. I find it easier to mash them when they are hot.

I add salt, pepper, dried parsley, and anything else that takes my fancy.

I do NOT add the egg until the mixture is cooled. Otherwise I’ll end up with scrambled egg in my potato dough.

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Here’s the peppered mashed potato cooling off in a mixing bowl.

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The fish fillets are thawed, so I drain them and toss them into a pan of water, and bring it to the bowl slowly.

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Bored out of my mind, I break the egg into a bowl.

Still bored, I build a water fountain for the cats.

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The fish comes to the boil; a frothy surface tells me that the fish is au point, as the English say when they are showing off.

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The water is strained off (tempting to put it in the cat’s water fountain, but I refrain….)

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The fish mashes easily and quickly into flakes. You thought I was going to say “shards”, didn’t you? Well I shardn’t!

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The mashed potato dough is added ….

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The onions are strained and added …. The whole lot is mixed up, the egg is mixed in ….

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I used bran because I couldn’t find the jar of bread crumbs. If you want to know how it worked out, Contact Me . If I don’t reply it might be because I didn’t survive.

I have four flattened cakes which I will fry lightly both sides until brown, sitting there off to the side.

I have fifty-four fish-cake balls, each about one inch diameter, which I will freeze, then thaw and flatten as required.

(*) apart from slipped-finger typos when I meant to type “shreds”


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Toronto, Friday, August 14, 2015 1:06 PM

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