Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Fishcakes and Skullheads

When we were kids, we ate Brussels sprouts a lot. My Grandma Val (I believe) told us once that they were "skullheads", and that did the trick! We ate them right up.

My "skullheads" recipe is pretty simple, and may not sound appetizing, but I assure you, they are. I pick Brussels sprouts all about the same size (smaller is tastier, as is true for a lot of veggies) but as long as they aren't the size of my hand, they are fine. A little rinse, a cut in half, and a toss into a non-stick frying pan. If there are loose leaves that fall in, don't fuss, they are actually the best part of this dish. I admit that I often peel the leaves off on purpose just so I can have more of them.

Add about 1/4 cup water and a sprinkle of salt to the pan and let the veggies steam a bit. Turn down the heat to medium-high and add a tablespoon or so of butter. Allow to melt in, shake it up occasionally, and just let it sit and caramelize.

I usually add a couple of tablespoons of butter in 2 installments, but cook until the sprouts look brown and the loose leaves almost look burnt. Not quite black, and not stinking up the house with char, but dark brown.

Doesn't sound like it would be that great, but it is ridiculously tasty.

Alternatively, you can probably Google up some "oven roasted brussels sprouts" recipes. Similar end product.

The fishcakes recipe came from the same magazine as the Yummy Cake (Canadian Family, October 2010) and it's part of the article/group of recipes that are to help people make food that everyone will enjoy if you're also cooking for those with food sensitivities. This one was called "Shellfish-Free Crab Cakes".

I call them frickin delicious. You know I don't love the fish, but try to find recipes to make the fish palatable for me so I can reap the health benefits. THIS is sooo good!


1/2 lb tilapia fillets (or another whitefish, if that's all you have available)
1/2 lb salmon fillets
2 medium sized white potatoes
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
2/4 cup finely chopped parsley
Zest of 1 lemon
1 egg
2 tablespoons seafood seasoning (recipe calls for 1 tblsp Old Bay but we don't have that here)
Pepper (and salt if you're using Old Bay)
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
Oil for pan frying

Peel and slice potatoes thinly, cover with cold water in a saucepot and boil until done. The thinner/smaller you slice potatoes (and other root veggies), the faster they will cook...obviously. And if you cut them evenly, they will cook evenly. Magic, that!

While potatoes cook, put a large frying pan of salted water onto the stove to boil. Once the water is boiling, turn it down to simmer and poach the fish for about 6 minutes.

Drain the potatoes well (don't want soggy fishcakes!) and scoop the fish onto a paper towel lined plate.

Now, let's get down to business: In a large bowl, rice potatoes (or mash), toss in onion, parsley, lemon zest, and seasonings. Peel skin off the fish (if necessary) and flake both into bowl (big chunks, small chunks, whatever you like). Mix gently and taste for seasoning. Adjust if necessary. NOW add the egg (see what I did there?) and mix gently to incorporate.

Place breadcrumbs on a shallow bowl (or plate). I added a little bit more of my seasoning because it was really good! Grab a golf ball sized chunk of fishcake, roll into a ball and flatten slightly to form a patty. Coat in panko and place on a plate or sheetpan. Continue until you've formed all the mix. You are probably looking at about 15 or 18 patties? Pop in fridge to cool down and set a little, about 30 minutes.

In the meantime, mix 1/4 cup mayo with just under 1/4 cup ketchup. Add 2 tablespoons chopped dill pickle (I actually took a shortcut and used dill relish)...or you could use sweet pickles, finely chopped red onion, nothing aside from the mayo and ketchup...up to you. Mix and stick in fridge.

Heat a thin layer of oil in the bottom of a frying pan and brown up the fishcakes. Drain on paper towel and enjoy!

I'm sure you could also bake them after spritzing them with a little oil if you don't like the idea of pan frying.

My thoughts about the recipe? It's an incredible main, and would be a great little appetizer. Don LOVED them, as did Quinn, and me, the fish disliker thought they were wicked good. Probably because of the crispy, crusty potato, and the seasoning. I could barely taste the fish inside, and I know it was there!

It did take longer than I like to spend on a weeknight dinner, so while I would definitely make this again, I would probably save it for a weekend.

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