Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Let them eat cakes...

Sometimes things get lost in the back of my refrigerator's fruit and veggie drawer. Sometimes things are not found until they get real ugly. Today I was looking through the fridge for dinner ideas. I found two leeks that were starting to look a little sad and wilty.

I was planning to make seared fish fillets tonight but with the discovery of the lost leeks, I switched gears and made fish cakes instead. They are along the same lines as a crab cake. I've had salmon cakes before but I've never tried using a white fish. And instead of onions, I thought leeks would be a nice alternative.

Well, they were delicious. I used orange roughy so its firm texture almost tasted like shell fish. If you ever have left over fish, try making fish cakes. I'm thinking most fishes would work. 
Fish and Leek Cakes
  • 3 fillets(about 1 lb) of white fish(halibut, talapia, snapper, orange roughy, etc.), rinsed in cold water and dried well with paper towels
  • 2 leeks (about 2 cups); white and light green parts only; sliced in half lengthwise and rinsed real well; cut crosswise into 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 small red bell pepper, 1/4 inch dice
  • 1 tbsp chopped garlic
  • olive oil
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tbsp white wine (optional)
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • vegetable oil
Heat oven to 450 degrees F.

Place fish on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Drizzle the fillets with a little olive oil and spread the oil evenly over them with your hands. Give them a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper.

When the oven has reached 450 degrees, place fillets in the oven and roast for about 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and place them on a plate to cool.
Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. When oil is glistening, add the leeks, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the red bell peppers and garlic and cook for 3 more minutes(if you happen to have some white wine that's already open, add some in the last minute of cooking). Transfer to a bowl and set aside to cool completely.
When fish has cooled completely, use a fork to mash and flake it into small pieces. Leave it chunky though, you don't want mush.
In a large bowl, add the mustard, mayo and eggs and whisk together. Then add the fish, leek mixture, lemon zest and panko. Mix well but gently to combine everything. Put the bowl in the fridge for a while. Chilling it will help the patties stay together better.
Form into round patties, makes about six.
Heat up a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large pan over medium heat. When the oil is glistening, add some fish cakes. Do not overcrowd. Cook about 3 minutes per side or until firm and golden brown. If you are doing batches, add a little more oil before you add more patties.

Serve with lemon wedges and your favorite tartar sauce (optional).

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