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. Continue reading

Salmon Florentine

IMG_3185For several years, my partner and I used to open up a marina during the winter for special dinners, brunches and lunches.  They became so popular that we would be sold out within a day or two of advertising the event.   We didn’t have a liquor license, but folks would bring their own if they wanted a glass of wine with dinner.

One night soon after everyone was tucking into their dinners, there was a knock on the door.  Two RCMP were standing there in the cold.  Invited in and asked if they wanted to join us, they declined, simply saying they wanted to moor overnight, but had their own dinner ready to go.  I am absolutely sure they were oblivious to all the hurried clinking as bottles went back into bags under tables.

These meals were so much fun, and somehow squeezing in seating for 36 in a small store made it more intimate.  The night would finish with folks chatting over coffee, with us wondering to ourselves how late they’d stay, so we could get on with clean up.

One early spring dinner, we toyed with the idea of serving salmon, but had no grill and limited cooking facilities, so I came up with this recipe.  It’s easier than it looks, and presents beautifully. Continue reading

Zesty Salmon Cakes

Working outside, trying to wring the last few minutes of sunlight out of the day, usually means that dinner has to be an easy, quick affair.  I find that these October days when sunset seems to come earlier and earlier, are the hardest ones to get dinner on the table before 7:30.  Here’s an easy recipe that can be put together in the time it takes for rice to cook.

For this recipe, I was out of green onions, so used a shallot, and for the herb, I used some hardy Greek basil leaves, torn. Continue reading

Fish & Potato Pie

IMG_1122Today it clouded over for the first time in weeks.  It’s too dark to do barn chores after 7PM.  I think that perhaps autumn is actually arriving.  This dish is a wonderful comfort meal.  The heartiness of the potato crust with the tender, flaky fish, along with fresh spinach, and a lovely cream sauce, is also accompanied by imbedded hard-boiled eggs.  I must admit, I thought about it for many months before I made it.  Everyone who has been served it since has virtually licked their plate clean.  So, after a long day tidying up your garden ready for the winter that will eventually come, enjoy this with a simple side dish of baby peas or green beans.  The onions and carrots could be chopped ahead of time, and the eggs and spinach could be cooked ahead & refrigerated, even by a day, and brought out to come to room temperature before assembly. Continue reading