Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Fish Cake or Faux Crab Cake

Fish Cake or Faux Crab Cake

Where have I been? Eating my way around Vancouver, B.C. the past few days. I love that city so much; the weather was beautiful, the people were nice, and oh the food. It almost feels like home away from home but Seattle will always hold a special place in my heart. I'm still a little tired so just a short recipe today of something I made before I left for my trip. Actually there are so many photos and recipes in my "to post" folder, I call it my "blog clog." One of these days I'm going to have to sit down and publish everything *gulp*.

Anyway onto these yummy fish cakes. Steven said, "Hmm... these cakes remind me of something." Couldn't quite put his finger on it but eventually we figured out that the texture of pollock was reminiscent of crab leg meat. These fish cakes are essentially faux crab cakes! (Faux crab cake sounds a lot better than imitation crab cake, which sounds distressingly fake and rubbery with a hint of artificial pink.) You can substitute another white fish for pollock, like cod or tilapia, but the texture won't be the same.

First the fish is cooked through by steaming with salt, pepper, lemon juice and white wine. You can also poach or roast the fish but I chose to steam it because I felt like it would prevent the fish from drying out without leeching out flavor. When making Chinese steamed whole fish, I add a little rice wine to cut the fishiness, so this is why I added a little white wine to the fish in this recipe. I love the airy crunchiness of panko bread crumbs so much that they have replaced regular dried bread crumbs in every application. So in goes some panko. Only the green parts of the scallions are used because the green top is milder and can be used more like an herb, whereas the white bottom is more like an onion, and the stronger flavor would be too overwhelming. After adding the rest of the ingredients, the cakes are chilled to prevent them from falling apart while cooking. Finally, they are dredged in flour and pan fried to a beautifully browned and crisp crust.

Fish Cake or Faux Crab Cake
1 lb pollock (or another white fish)
Salt and pepper
2 tbsp lemon juice (juice from half a lemon)
2 tbsp white wine
1/4 C chopped scallions (green part only)
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 egg, beaten
1/4 C mayo
1/4 C panko, or more if needed
1/2 tsp Old Bay seasoning (optional)
1/4 C flour
3 Tbsp vegetable oil

Tartar sauce for serving (optional)

Salt and pepper the fish, drizzle with lemon juice and steam until the fish is throughly cooked and flakes easily, about 5 - 10 minutes.

Drain the liquid. Break up the fish, leaving some large clumps and wait for the fish to cool to room temperature. Meanwhile in a small bowl mix the egg and mayo.

Once the fish has cooled, add the chopped scallion and parsley, panko, Old Bay (if using) and the mayo-egg mixture, and gently fold everything together. If the mixture looks too wet, add a little more panko.

Divide the mix into 4 portions and form into thick cakes. Cover and chill for 30 minutes or overnight.

After the chill, add the flour to a plate and dredge both sides of the cakes with flour. Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Cook the cakes until the outsides are crisp and browned, about 4 - 5 minutes per side.

Serve with tartar sauce if you'd like.

Replace the fish for lump crab meat and voila! you have a (real) crab cake.

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