lemon cod cakes
I have to admit that cod was never my favorite fish. I always found it a bit too bland, too thick, and simply too boring compared to other fish like salmon and trout. But ever since I started cooking some of Ottolenghi’s incredible recipes, I have learned to see the greatness in cod — its blandness makes it a great fish to spice up with a range of ingredients and its thickness makes it perfect for turning into patties. Sometimes I cook cod in a thick tomato sauce, other times I decide to turn it into kebabs made with a range of spices, herbs and veggies. The result is anything but boring, making cod just as exciting as salmon minus the calories!
Although salmon has lots of good fat in it, it is a high-calorie fish. Sometimes all we want to eat for dinner is a low-cal meal but that is substantial nonetheless, and that’s when cod is a perfect choice. These patties are inspired by Ottolenghi’s fish and caper kebabs featured in my favorite cookbook Jerusalem, which I’ve tweaked quite a bit. Ottolenghi uses halibut, which I substitute for cod. I’ve tried this recipe both in form of torpedo-shaped kebabs (like Ottolenghi suggests) and round burger-like cakes, and I find that the cakes hold better during the cooking process. Besides their shape and choice of fish, the cod cakes contain pretty much the same ingredients as Ottolenghi suggests.
Rather than chopping cod fillets into a small dice like Ottolenghi suggests, I pulse the fish a couple of times in the food processor to save time and make less of a mess. The mixture should ressemble a small dice; it shouldn’t be mushy, you should still be able to see the cod pieces. The diced cod is then combined by hand with the rest of the ingredients — spices, dill, lemon, capers, an egg and breadcrumbs — and shaped into small round cakes. It is best to refrigerate the cod cakes for at least 30 minutes prior to frying them. This will help make sure that the cakes don’t fall apart when you cook them. To keep this recipe as low-cal as possible, I use only a little bit of olive oil to fry the cod cakes. They might be low in fat but they’re definitely high in taste, making me want to choose cod over salmon any day!
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- 350g skinless cod fillets
- 1 tablespoon capers, drained and chopped
- Zest from 1 lemon
- ¾ teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 green onion, white and green part chopped
- ½ egg
- 2 ½ tablespoons breadcrumbs
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- In a food processor, pulse the cod fillets a couple of times until it resembles a dice. The mixture shouldn't be mushy; the pieces of cod should still be noticeable. Put all the cod in a mixing bowl.
- Add all the rest of the ingredients to the mixing bowl. Form about 10 round cakes and place them side-by-side on a plate. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Fry the cod cakes for about 5 minutes on each side until golden and cooked through. Serve warm.