Newfoundland Fish Cakes

Friday, January 30, 20096comments

Today's dish and photo come courtesy of 13 year old guest chef Laura Taylor from Conception Bay South who was looking for tips on making Newfoundland Fish Cakes. She chose fish cakes as a traditional Newfoundland meal to complete an assignment for her Grade 8 Social Studies class at Vila Nova School where she is a French Immersion student, hence the photo label Gateau de Poisson.

This very simple dish was a staple on many Newfoundland kitchen tables for who knows how long; probably hundreds of years, given that the simple ingredients were readily available from the land and the sea. I remember my grandmothers cooking them in large cast iron skillets in the rendered fat from making scrunchions. For our non-native readers, scrunchions are a very traditional accompaniment to several traditional Newfoundland meals and are simply cured fat back pork which is diced in small cubes and then fried until crispy to render out most of the fat.

It does my heart good to know that our food culture is still being kept alive in the classroom. You did a great job on these, Laura; I think they look delicious. If your Social Studies teacher doesn't give you an A on this one, tell him to take it up with me! ;)

1 ½ pounds salt cod

Soak the salt cod in cold water overnight. Simmer the salt cod in boiling water for about 15 minutes. Drain the water off the fish and allow the fish to cool to almost room temperature.
When the fish is cool, flake it apart with a fork into small pieces.

In a sauté pan, melt over medium heat
¼ cup butter
1 small chopped onion
Cook until the onions are softened.

Add the fish, cooked onions and butter to

6 cups mashed potato
1 beaten egg
2 tbsp dried savoury (optional)
1/2 tsp black pepper

Mix together until well combined, then form into small cakes and roll in flour.

Fry the fish cakes in canola oil over medium heat until golden brown on both sides.

Serve with scrunchions if desired.
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+ comments + 6 comments

Penny Barker
November 28, 2010 at 8:44 PM

This was my 1st time trying this recipe for the Newfoundland Fish Cakes and i must say my husbandand i simply loved them. The recipe was easy and fast to do. I am impressed by the flavour of them. That is just what i needed a recipe that does not take all day to make. Very delicious!! I would recommend them to anyone who likes fish! Thank you for posting the recipe it sure came in handy.

April 10, 2013 at 5:20 AM

Should the potatoes be left to cool to room temperature as well?

April 10, 2013 at 2:22 PM

Not to room temperature but cooled down enough to handle.

April 11, 2013 at 12:00 AM

Savory is not an option must a necessity for the flavor. Onions can be added just to the fish/potato mix and they cook just fine. This was my Mother's way of cooking fishcakes--except now I buy deboned saltfish. I have been told they are very good.

July 18, 2013 at 1:04 PM

I always boil my potatoes the day before. Let cool and then cover them with a paper towel and platic wrap.. Place in fridge. This paper towel idea takes the wetness out of the potatoes.

January 9, 2014 at 2:57 PM

These fish cakes were amazing! I omitted the savory because my husband gets heartburn when he eats it. Also, I fried up the onions with scrunchions instead of butter. I then added the scrunchions to the mixture. I used the fat from the scrunchions to fry up the fish cakes. I served my fish cakes with mustard pickles :) Thanks so much for this awesome recipe!!

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