It's Lent and some of us are eating more fish but even if you don't align your religious life with your dietary habits you might want a different way to make fish cakes. Here's the recipe for the fish cakes we had tonight.
1.5 pounds of any mild, white fish (I used Whiting)
1/2 of a large onion
1 large egg (2 small)
3 tablespoons corn starch (potato starch if you have it)
1 teaspoon Old Bay (nutmeg is traditional)
1/2 teaspoon salt
Seasoned pepper (however much and what kind you like)
Up to 2 cups half and half or cream
If you're like me, you don't want to do this the same day you cook it; the prep is too long. Make it and keep in the fridge to cook the next day.
Chop the onion and add to your processor, get it as fine as possible.
If your fish is frozen, let it drip/dry overnight on paper towels in the fridge overnight. If you can't, dry your fish aggressively. Cut the fish small and process on high in your food processor for 2 minutes or so. (If you have a small processor, do batches.)
Add all the seasonings and the corn starch. Begin pouring in the half and half while processing. You will have to eyeball this. You want a light, almost foamy-looking fish paste. Use enough half and half to achieve this effect. How much will depend on your fish - don't worry about it. You can use cream or unsweetened condensed milk, also. Milk itself won't work as well.
Decant the paste and chill at least 1/2 hour. Overnight is better.
Get a skillet hot and add your oil. (Purists will use half butter, half oil.) Shape the cakes and add to the oil. The cold cakes will be somewhat free-form. Just shape them as well as possible. They will firm up marvelously as they cook. Flip after 4 minutes or so. Cook another 4 or 5 minutes depending on thickness.
Serve with lemon sauce, tartar sauce, brown gravy, or horseradish. Because it's almost all fish, this is a good choice for diabetics, gluten-free fans, or low carbers.
Experienced cooks will note that this is similar to Chinese fish paste (and a hundred other similar fish pastes). You can add ethnic seasonings to make fish balls, fish stuffing, baked rolls, fish loaf or whatever. If you use this in soup, let the balls cook 2 or 3 minutes in the boiling soup after they rise to the surface.
The paste will keep close to a week but you can also make the cakes and freeze them. Thaw naturally or in the microwave, fry as usual.