Smoked Cod Cakes with Napa Cabbage Slaw

July 19, 2011

I love fish cakes. There’s some casual thing about them, all getting sand in your shoes and an itchy sunburn on your shoulders, needing Noxzema and iced tea. Their beachiness could be as literal as the fact that cod comes from the ocean (our local chilly brine, the Mighty Pacific), but I love being swept up in the meibutsu of it all, and the seasonality of it, too. Summer begs for straps and hats and big umbrellas, and for crispy-edged cod cakes with tangy-sweet slaw. This is living.

This is a few pounds of Pacific cod, kissed with smoke, heated until fork-flaky. This is handfuls of your garden’s tiny pearly potatoes, skin rubbed off between your gritty fingers and rinsed away in the garden hose, then boiled and smashed with the same fork. This is mineral parsley, sweet pickled onions, cracker crumbs and a warm egg, all married with yet the same fork. Salt and pepper, a blob of Dijon, and into small handfuls you pat-a-cake. Into a pan with a little bacon fat, this is a few aproned moments in front of the stove.

This is a head of Napa cabbage, rended to slivers with a hasty blade. This is a dressing of rice vinegar, lime juice, sesame oil and sugar; it is minced shallots, snipped chives and mint, pretty-please with cherry tomatoes on top.

This is dinner.

8 Responses to Smoked Cod Cakes with Napa Cabbage Slaw

  1. July 19, 2011 at 11:39 pm

    They sound perfect! The pickled onion element really nails it – fish cakes can be a little bit cloying sometimes.

  2. July 20, 2011 at 3:46 am

    This looks divine! And I couldnt agree more about sunshine, beaches and fish cakes going hand in hand!

    I had some excellent ones at the Porthminster Beach Cafe last year – crab densley packed and served with a tropical dressing of nam pla, palm sugar and passionfruit juice. Pic in here:

    They were ace and inspired me to create these – see what you think I reckon you might like them!

    Mrs P x

  3. Cindy
    July 20, 2011 at 4:51 am

    Hi, looking at the plate with your slaw, you need to visit I gather you two may be in close proximity.

  4. July 20, 2011 at 11:13 am

    This looks delicious. Wish we still lived on the west coast rather than the middle of the country. Not much good seafood here. I wanted to start muching on my PC screen. Thanks.

  5. July 20, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    Yes. That is all I have to say.

  6. July 22, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    And this sounds perfect Heather! I have always loved your recipes and the way you manage to marry ingredients so well together. Thank you!

  7. Gigi
    July 27, 2011 at 6:13 pm

    What a great little treat. No longer living on the coast, I’ll have to make sure I create these when I head back east again soon. By the by, I love your flatware pattern. Care to share?

  8. July 28, 2011 at 11:11 pm

    This is totally a different dish that I’m excited to try. I love the smoked cake, I haven’t tried cooking one yet. I’m so excited for this, cannot wait for the weekend, I bet my family would love this. Thanks!