When my parents were both alive and well, they used to come to join the Hubs and I for most of Thanksgiving week. They only lived 50 miles away, but they would move in on Tuesday and go home on Friday. My father would take up a post in the chair with his newspapers and tea, my mother and I would plant bulbs, drink tea and on the nite before Thanksgiving, when the malls were empty, we would make a strategic strike for gifts at the advance sales. My father and the Hubs were left home to make the traditional homemade fish cakes with tartar sauce, baked beans, cole slaw and brown bread. It’s only traditional for us, but I cherished it.
This year, because I had some frozen haddock in the freezer and am trying to work down the inventory, I made fish cakes for the first time since they passed. I think I did them justice. The above picture is a portion of the recipe file I had to wade through to find my father’s copy, originally published in the Boston Globe. It is foolproof.
You will need 1 pound of cod or haddock for every 2 diners. Cook it in a 300° oven for about 20 minutes. Coat it with a little olive oil and sea salt before cooking. When it’s cool, flake it into a mixing bowl, removing any bones or skin.
Mix the fish with mayo, an egg, finely chopped fresh parsley, “live” bread crumbs (meaning from fresh bread) and dijon mustard, preferably the country style.
Form the mixture into loose balls of mixture, then form them into patties. Coat the patties with dry bread crumbs. Keep flat on a plate or pan and pop in fridge for about an hour.
Meanwhile mix up a batch of the best tartar sauce you will ever have made out of mayo, lemon juice, pickle relish, finely chopped red onion, finely chopped parsley and Worcestershire. You can also add a little hot sauce if you like. Chill.
Melt a boatload of butter in an ovenproof skillet and gently place the chilled fish cakes into the butter. Brown one side and then gently, gently use a spatula and large fork or another spatula to flip the over. Once the second side is browned, put the pan in a 300° oven until heated through. Add lemon quarters and the tartar sauce and your favorite sides. A great Saturday nite supper, especially for a snowy weekend!