Cod was abundant in the Maritimes since the turn of the century. Over time it has become less available, almost extinct and replaced with fish based on the demand of finer palates. Cod cakes were a Maritime staple that not everyone liked but the potatoes helped make a meal go further and eased the salty taste of the cod. The folks who was less fond of the cod cakes found creative ways to diminish the strong taste of salt cod including topping the cakes with applesauce, maple syrup or molasses; try it!
CAPE BRETON COD CAKES
- 1 lb of potatoes (russet are best), peeled & 1 inch cubed
- 1 lb of de-boned salt cod
- 2 small onions, minced
- 1 rib of celery, minced
- 1 carrot, peeled & diced
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 1 tsp of summer savory (dried is ok)
- 1 bay leaf
- 6 tbsp butter
- Flour for dusting the cakes (I use panko for crisper cakes)
- Salt & pepper to taste
The cod must be soaked for at least 24 hours in cold water in the fridge, changing the water 3-4 times. Note: if you do not have salt cod, regular cod may be used and salt can added to potato mixture, please keep in mind this recipe works best with salt cod.
After soaking, drain and add to a pot of cold water and bay leave. Simmer for about 10 minutes or until softened — basically just long enough to soften it up. Boil potatoes in water, drain when soft and mash with butter and pepper to taste (no salt).
Soften 1 tbsp of butter and onions, celery and garlic until softened. Add to mashed potatoes and gently mix. Drain cod and flake it with a fork, add to potato mixture and add savoury. Stir to mix gently. Allow to cool to handle, and form into 2 inch balls. Flatten into patties, yielding about 8-10 cakes. Melt butter in a nonstick frying pan on medium heat. Dust the cakes with flour (or panko) and brown until golden. Add more butter as needed to avoid sticking. To reduce fat, I have also baked at 400F in an oven for about 10 minutes on each side.
Yield: 8-10 cakes and best served with Maritime chow or cream-corn. For a hearty winter meal, served with molasses baked beans and pork.