Crispy Fish Cakes


Crispy fish cakes? Is there any other type of fish cake? Well there are, just not edible ones. I just needed to pad out the title with an attractive adjective so people will read this blog. Did I getcha? Good.

Wait! Don’t run away! What I’m technically going to show you is “chipotle fish cakes with mango pico de gallo”. It actually tastes pretty good. Much better than the frozen pizzas and hot pockets I’ve been eating in between being too lazy to cook. And probably better than that raw, half-frozen drumstick you’re gnawing on right now too, since that was all that’s left in your fridge on a Wednesday night and you can’t be arsed to go out into the cold after a hard day’s work to buy real food.

This shit is legit. Buy the ingredients over the weekend and spend a couple of hours to make something nice.

Ingredients

A lot of people don't seem to like fish. That's because they suck.

A lot of people don’t seem to like fish. That’s because they suck.

Total Prep & Wait Time: 2 hours
Serves 2-3

Fish Cakes:
1 lb boneless fish fillets*
2 tbsp chipotle mayonnaise or spread**
3 tbsp scallions
4 tbsp cilantro, parsley, or dill
1 tbsp minced red pepper***
2 tbsp minced celery
3 tbsp shredded parmesan cheese
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 beaten egg
2-8 tbsp panko bread crumbs
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp cooking oil
1 1/2 cups panko, for coating

Mango Pico:
1/2 large ripe mango
1/2 medium yellow onion
4 small or 2-3 medium tomatoes
1 large lemon
1/2 tbsp salt
1 tsp pepper
3 tbsp cilantro (fresh coriander)

*Can be any white-meat fish, salmon, or crab meat
**Any chipotle flavored mayonnaise or spread can do. Lacking that, you can try using ranch or a mayonnaise and mustard combination.
***I used green because red is currently prohibitively expensive where I live. Red is more flavorful and adds better color.

Cooking

For once we can start with cooking before prep. Get all your ingredients out and have your fish on hand. Add oil and butter to a pan over medium-high heat. Melt the butter and let the large bubbles dissipate. Cook the fish until it is just done, salt and peppering it on both sides. Place the cooked fish into a large bowl and set aside. Reserve the pan and the oil.

Allegedly, Osama Bin Laden is sleeping with the fishes nowadays. In a few years, we fish eaters may all have a small piece of Bin Laden in us. Think happy thoughts.

Allegedly, Osama Bin Laden is sleeping with the fishes nowadays. In a few years, we fish eaters may all have a small piece of Bin Laden in us. Think happy thoughts.

As the fish is cooking, get out your small tidbits of vegetables (scallions, celery, garlic, and pepper) and mince them. The pieces should be about 1/8 of an inch or 1/3 cm in size.

If eating things that eat things that eat decomposing human beings is the cycle of life, then Soylent Green is just cutting out the middleman. Or middleanimal, as it were.

If eating things that eat things that eat decomposing human beings is the cycle of life, then Soylent Green is just cutting out the middleman. Or middleanimal, as it were.

Saute the vegetables in the same pan as the fish for about five minutes, until softened. Place them into the bowl with the fish. Add all of the other ingredients except bread crumbs. Add 2 tablespoons of breadcrumbs and mash everything together. You want to break up all of the fish into very small pieces, but not completely mashed.

For a group of people who don't like cannibalism, Americans sure love zombies.

For a group of people who don’t like cannibalism, Americans sure love zombies.

Ideally at this point, your mixture should be dry enough to form into cakes with only 2 tablespoons of bread crumbs. However, depending on the moisture of the fish, this may not be the case. Add bread crumbs a tablespoon at a time until you can just form 4-8 delicate cakes. Try to use as little bread crumbs as possible. (For reference I used about 5 tablespoons and came out with 6 cakes)

Dump 1 1/2 cups of panko bread crumbs into a container and use them to coat your fish cakes. Set the cakes aside. When all the cakes have been formed, pour all of the remaining bread crumbs on top of the cakes to coat them and prevent them from drying out. Refrigerate for at least 1-2 hours to allow cakes to firm up before cooking.

Not that I endorse cannibalism, just observing how things turned out regarding this topic while showing you how to make food. You are what you eat and all that, right?

Not that I endorse cannibalism, just observing how things turned out regarding this topic while showing you how to make food. You are what you eat and all that, right?

Right! As the fish cakes refrigerate, we can move on to the pico. Pico de gallo is very easy to make, delicious, and refreshing. It is an excellent relish that goes along with many savory dishes. Gather together all the fruits and vegetables you need, and a container to hold the pico.

Just think of this as an awkward conversation I'm having with myself that you can't help but overhear.

Just think of this as an awkward conversation I’m having with myself that you can’t help but overhear.

Small dice your tomato, mango, and onion. Place them into the container. Roll your lemon around while applying pressure to help loosen up the juices. Cut it in half and squeeze the juice into your pico. Be careful with the lemon! If it has seeds in it, you should squeeze the juice into another container and do something about the seeds before adding the juice into the pico. Roughly chop your fresh cilantro and add it to the pico. Add salt and pepper to taste, then refrigerate the pico to let it marinate together.

Look at the pretty colors! If you're colorblind, that last sentence probably didn't mean much to you.

Look at the pretty colors! If you’re colorblind, that last sentence probably didn’t mean much to you.

When the fish cakes are ready to cook, bring them out. Heat equal parts 2 tbsp butter and 2 tbsp oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat. Cook the fish cakes for about 4-5 minutes per side, until golden brown. Serve immediately with pico on the side.

The Result

Anyways, forget about all the cannibalism talk earlier. God only knows how many parts of dead babies, grandmas, and other human beings you've indirectly ingested.

Anyways, forget about all the cannibalism talk earlier. God only knows how many parts of dead babies, grandmas, and other human beings you’ve indirectly ingested.

Wow, right? These actually turned out way better than I expected. They’re crispy on the outside, and filled with savory, juicy fish on the inside. The chipotle adds a ton of flavor while the pico de gallo is a perfect pairing. I’m completely gushing right now, but probably only because I haven’t cooked anything this good in a while. There’s no shame in that. It’s good stuff, and very easy to make. If you like fish, or if you don’t dislike fish, you owe it to yourself to try this.

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