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~Cod Cakes w/Creamed Corn & Crisp Tortilla Wisps~

IMG_9617I never met a fish cake or a crab cake I didn't like.  Some recipes are better than others, but generally speaking, I love them all.  Whenever I broil, bake or poach fresh fish filets I always buy two or three, for the sole purpose of having leftovers to make fish cakes the next day.  Almost any kind of fish can be used to make fish cakes, but, this recipe is the one I use specifically for white fish cakes.  Firm, lean and meaty cod, grouper or haddock are my favorite three, and, I found some beautiful wild cod filets at our Giant market's seafood counter this week!  

IMG_9538This simple meal, as a whole, has got a spicy Southwestern edge to it.  I encountered it in a pub in Tempe, AZ in 1987.  One bite was enough for me to return home and make it again, and again, and again.  At the time, I had no idea what I was ordering.  Before I got a chance to look over the menu, a waitress served it, along with a basket of freshly-fried tortilla chips and tomato salsa, to the couple seated further down and sharing the cafeteria-style table with Joe and I.  I politely asked the woman, "What's that your eating?"  "The lunch special", was the reply, "pan-fried cod cakes over freshly-roasted creamed corn." "We come here once a week just to eat this", added her husband.  Joe and I had obviously picked the right day to eat there!

Corn Chronicles #7This post is all about the cod cakes rather than the freshly-roasted creamed corn recipe.  Now is not the time of year for me to attempt finding fresh sweet corn in our markets, and, even if I did, it wouldn't be very good.  I live in sweet corn country, and, nothing but picked-that-day and local will do.  This meal is over-the-top when made with fresh corn, but, off-season, I never let the lack of corn IMG_9211deter me from preparing it.  If you're lucky enough to live in an area where you have access to it, my instructions for ~ How to: Roast or "Bake" Sweet Corn in the Oven ~ is the first step to making great creamed corn.  On Tuesday I posted my recipe for, ~ Mel's 30-Minute "Brain Food" Meal: Broiled Cod w/Spicy Saffron Rice, Peas & Stewed Tomatoes ~.  Just click on the Related Article links below to get either one of my recipes!

IMG_9521It's time to make and fry some cod cakes! 

IMG_93993/4  pound wild, fresh cod, broiled as directed in my above mentioned recipe and cooled to room temperature, 3/4 pound after broiling, about 2 cups after flaking into small chunks and pieces the size of what you'd expect to find in a well-made crab cake

IMG_94351  12-ounce Russet potato, baked, cooled, peeled and mashed with a fork, about 2 cups

2  tablespoons salted butter

1  large garlic clove, run through a press

1/2  cup finely-diced onion

1/4  cup finely-diced green bell pepper

1/4  cup finely-diced red bell pepper

1  small jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely-diced (optional)

IMG_94741  teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon coarsely-ground black pepper

1/4  cup minced fresh cilantro leaves

2  large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten

1/2  cup plain, dried breadcrumbs

juice of half a lime, about 1/2 teaspoon, more or less, to taste

IMG_9598corn oil, for frying cod cakes and tortilla wisps

6  fresh corn tortillas, cut into quarters, quarters cut into very-thin strips

3 cups creamed corn, warmed

tomato salsa, for topping

lime wedges and/or cilantro sprigs, for garnish 

IMG_9416 IMG_9405~ Step 1. Using your fingers, break and flake the cod into small chunks about the size you would expect to find in a well-made crab cake.  You will have about 2 cups.

~ Step 2.  Using a fork, mash the potato.  You will have about 2 cups.

IMG_9459 IMG_9450~ Step 3. Place the cod chunks and pieces, along with the mashed potatoes, in a large bowl.  

Using a large rubber spatula, gently combine the two, being careful not to mash the cod.  Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.

IMG_9449 IMG_9439~ Step 4. Prep the vegetables as directed. In an 8" skillet, melt the butter over low heat.  Add the vegetables, salt and pepper.  Adjust heat to saute, stirring frequently, until veggies are crunch tender, about 3 minutes.  Remove skillet from heat and set aside for veggies to cool a bit, about 10 minutes.

IMG_9460~ Step 5.  Fold  veggies into cod.  

IMG_9482Fold in the cilantro leaves followed by the IMG_9490bread crumbs, until mixture is evenly coated in crumbs.

IMG_9495~ Step 6.  In a small bowl, lightly beat the eggs with the lime juice. Add to the cod cake mixture and fold again, until ingredients are thoroughly combined.  

IMG_9501Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate several hours or overnight.  Overnight is best.

IMG_9507~ Step 7.  Remove the cod cake mixture from the refrigerator and divide it into  6 balls, approximately 5 1/2-ounces each.  Compress each ball into a 3/4"-thick disc.

~ Step 8.  Place 1/8" of corn oil in the bottom of a 12" skillet over medium-heat.  You will know the oil is hot enough for frying when little ripples appear across the surface.

IMG_9523 IMG_9511~ Step 9. While cod cakes are still chilled (don't let them come to room temperature), gently place them into the oil and fry, until golden brown on both sides, turning only once, about 3 1/2-4 minutes per side. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate to drain and rest, about 5 minutes:

IMG_9532It's time to make the crispy tortilla wisps!

IMG_9555 IMG_9564~ Step 1. Cut 6 corn tortillas into quarters, stack a few at a time on top of each other and slice the quarters into very thin strips.

Add more corn oil to the skillet, to fill the pan to 1/4".  Bring oil back to temp over medium-high heat.

IMG_9579 IMG_9575~ Step 2. Add all of the tortilla strips to the hot oil in the skillet.  Fry until golden brown, about 4 minutes, using a spatula to keep the wispy strips moving around in the oil the entire time. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate and immediately sprinkle with a generous grinding of sea salt:  

IMG_9588Serve each cod cake on a bed of warm creamed corn w/a dollop of tomato salsa on top followed by a generous sprinkling of tortilla wisps.  Squirt some lime over the top and eat!

IMG_9636Cod Cakes with Creamed Corn and Crisp Tortilla Wisps:  Recipe yields 6 servings.

Special Equipment List:  fork; large rubber spatula; plastic wrap; garlic press; cutting board; chef's knife; 8" skillet, perferably nonstick; large spoon; 12" skillet, preferably nonstick; large spatula; paper towels 

6a0120a8551282970b017c3178051a970bCook's Note:  Salmon is another fish I love.  My recipe for ~ Refreshing Wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon Cakes (w/Mustard-Dill Sauce and a Cumcumber Salad too!) ~, can be found in Categories 3, 14 & 19!

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2014)


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