Cod Cakes with Zesty Mayo

IMG_5277It used to be that if we wanted fish for dinner, we’d simply go out in our dory and catch some.  We used to be happy with a couple of nice sized rockfish, thrilled if we got a snapper, and felt like we’d won the lottery if we brought in a good sized Lingcod.  We would cast a herring jig and slowly bring it back up to the boat.  If we didn’t get anything in half a dozen casts, we’d move to another place.  We only kept decent sized fish, because there was no point in keeping the littler ones. Those days are long gone.  For several years in a row in the mid-eighties, there was a fishboat that used to go up and down Stuart Channel, scraping up anything that was a bottom fish.  Unfortunately, it scraped up anything and everything.  Rockfish, Ling Cod, Snapper, and every other type of sea life.  This was before we knew about the late reproductive age of rock fish and lingcod.  Stocks are slowly returning, but most of our area is prime habitat for these fish, so it is usually closed to fishing, commercial or pleasure.

Stuart Channel - heading home.
Stuart Channel – heading home.

Now we buy our fish.  Sometimes we are lucky and are told of some  fresh caught halibut or salmon for sale, but more often than not, we buy our fish at a store.  I try to keep some in the freezer, as I only go to town once a week or so, and if that isn’t the day for fresh fish, I’m better off with frozen.

Our usual is wild caught Pacific Cod.  It is sustainable, and until we have North American farm-raised tilapia more readily available, I feel better with the cod.

We’re pretty happy eating fish grilled, baked, or pan-fried, but I’m a sucker for a good fish cake.  When I saw this recipe in Canadian Living it sounded so fresh and flavourful, I had to try it.  As usual, I couldn’t help but change a few things.

Click here for printable version.

Makes 4 servings of 2 cakes each.


Cod Cakes:

1# of frozen cod fillets, or other firm white fish

1 slice of white bread (I used Sourdough)

1 stalk of celery, washed & trimmed

3 thin green onions, washed & trimmed

zest of a lemon

a small handful of fresh parsley leaves

1 egg

2 tsp smooth Dijon mustard

a few grinds of pepper

1 T olive oil

Panko crumbs

Zesty Mayo:

⅓ c mayonnaise or light mayonnaise

juice of half a lemon

¼ t chili powder (or zest it up using Chipotle powder)


Cut up the frozen cod into 1” cubes.IMG_5262

Let thaw on a plate in the fridge for several hours, or overnight.  Drain off any extra liquid.

Pull the crust off the bread, and tear the fresh bread into small pieces.  Discard the crust, reserve the pieces.  You should have about ¾ c densely packed. IMG_5264

Coarsely chop up the celery & green onions.

Put the celery and green onions in the  bowl of a processor with the lemon zest and parsley leaves.

Pulse until it’s all finely chopped.IMG_5255


Scrape into a bowl.

Add the cod to the processor.

Pulse until finely chopped, but not puréed.

Scrape into the bowl with the celery mix.IMG_5263

Add in the bread, egg, Dijon, pepper, and oil.IMG_5266

Mix until uniform.



Form into 8 patties, about ⅓ of a cup per patty.IMG_5270

Sprinkle them with Panko crumbs.IMG_5273

Heat 1 T of oil in each of two large skillets, over medium heat.

Place 4 patties in each skillet, Panko side down.

Sprinkle the tops with more Panko.IMG_5274

Cook about 4-5 minutes, and then turn, continuing to cook the other side for another 4-5 minutes.IMG_5275

While they’re cooking, mix together the zesty mayo ingredients. IMG_5271

Serve the cod cakes with a dollop of zesty mayonnaise and a salad.  Makes a great, light meal.IMG_5278

Note:  If there are leftovers, they make great filling for soft tacos.  Break up the patties, and reheat gently in the microwave, until just hot.  Use as the meat part of the filling and proceed as you would usually!

Gluten Free:  replace the fresh bread crumbs with ¾ cup of cold mashed potatoes.

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