I saw this fishcake alternative in Yotam Ottolenghis’ Jerusalem book. To me it looked like a the sort of dish that you would expect to be served to a large family. It sounded both healthy and hearty and suitable for a weekend dinner, which I made in April.
This dish would be a good one to try on a bank holiday weekend, if you have friends round and no BBQ.
You should be able to make 8 cakes, I managed 7, it will feed 4 adults and leave them full, but no room for pudding.
Alternatively you could serve this to 6 people and add some greens and a pudding.
The best thing about this method is that you can freeze the remaining cakes and sauce, leaving you a nice treat for an easy midweek meal.
White bread, crusts removed 3 slices
Cod (sustainably sourced), or pollock fillet, skinless and boneless 600g
Medium onion 1, finely chopped
Garlic cloves 4, crushed
Flat-leaf parsley 30g, finely chopped
Coriander 30g, finely chopped
Ground cumin 1 tbsp
Salt 1 tsp
Large free-range eggs 2, beaten
Olive oil 4 tbsp
I missed out the parsley and coriander in the cod cakes step, which might be why my cakes seemed paler than the books beautiful photo. Either that or my oil needed to be hotter, which I suspect was the case!
Olive oil 2 tbsp
Ground cumin 1 tsp
Sweet paprika ½ tsp
Ground coriander 1 tsp
Medium onion 1, chopped
White wine 125ml
Chopped tomatoes 400g tin
Red chilli 1, deseeded and finely chopped
Garlic clove 1, crushed
Caster sugar 2 tsp
Mint leaves 2 tbsp, roughly chopped
Salt and black pepper
First make the tomato sauce. Heat the olive oil in a very large frying pan for which you have a lid, and add the spices and onion. Cook for 8-10 minutes, until the onion is completely soft. Add the wine and simmer for 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, chilli, garlic, sugar, ½ tsp of salt and some black pepper. Simmer for about 15 minutes, until quite thick, taste to adjust the seasoning and set aside.
While the sauce is cooking make the fish cakes. Place the bread in a food processor and blitz to form breadcrumbs. Chop up the fish very finely and place in a bowl with the bread and everything else, apart from the olive oil. Mix well and then, using your hands, shape the mixture into compact cakes, about 2cm thick and 8cm wide. I had some ring moulds which I used here, it achieved very neat cakes but perhaps handmade would be more rustic. The mixture should make 8 cakes. If they are very soft, refrigerate for 30 minutes to firm up.
Heat up half the oil in a frying pan and sear the cakes for 3 minutes on each side, so they colour well.
Add the remaining oil as you fry the cakes. Place the seared cakes gently, side by side, in the tomato sauce. Add enough water to partially cover the cakes, about 200ml. Cover the pan with the lid and simmer on a very low heat for 15-20 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave the cakes to settle, uncovered, for at least 10 minutes before serving warm or at room temperature, sprinkled with mint.
Serve with bulgar, rice, couscous or bread, alongside sautéed spinach or Swiss chard.
I will certainly be trying this dish again, with all of the ingredients next time.