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Jan 4, 2011 09:22 PM

Codfish Cakes

Okay, I'm going to join the scotch broth, scrapple, other old recipes crew and tell you that I just made my Grandmother's codfish cakes for dinner tonight and they were delightful. When I was a kid we only had them for breakfast, but mine weren't ready in time for breakfast, except maybe for tomorrow (!)

Basically what you do is get a pound of boned salted codfish (it usually comes in a wooden box), soak it in several changes of cold water for 6-8 hours and then drain it off. Make some mashed potatoes (3-4 cups), flake up the codfish, and mix them together. You'll probably need to add some cream, milk, or other liquid to get it to a consistency you can form patties from. Add salt and pepper to taste. Form small patties and fry them in a hot skillet with a light coating of oil.

When they're nice and brown on both sides serve them with ketchup and horseradish, maybe even a little hot sauce.


Has anyone else had these things or is it just my family?

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    1. "Has anyone else had these things or is it just my family?"
      it's actually a pretty common preparation for salt cod...with good reason! yum :)

      10 Replies
      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

        Codfish cakes, oh yum! Here in Bermuda we use an egg to bind and add chopped parsley and thyme.

        1. re: Athena

          I remember the Cod fish cakes in Barbados and Trinidad because of the chopped onions,broad leaf thyme,garlic and the finely chopped hot peppers. Delicious!

          1. re: Duppie

            West Indian codfish cakes are terrific. There's always something great about a light and simply made cod cake, but the addition of scallions, thyme and Scotch bonnets makes Jamaican codfish cakes extra flavorful. A bit of cornmeal also goes a long way to adding some interest to the cakes.

            1. re: JungMann

              I have never added cornmeal but what a great idea...I have however experimented with a panko crust as well as a sweet potato/russet potato mix to so so results.

            2. re: Duppie

              YOU again! Link please! Grew up eating these in my family from Nevis in Brooklyn. Husband is from Jamaica; rice and peas NOT peas and rice; not pigeon!

              1. re: Shrinkrap

                Me again? So your husband knows what a Duppy is then.....And it is pigeon peas with salted pig tails
                Ok but my recipe is quite a bit heavier than a typical West Indian salt fish fritter, more along the lines of a Portuguese Croquette.
                1/2 lb salt cod soaked and drained, flake fish and then lightly saute in olive oil and 3 cloves of grated garlic.Drain on a paper towel and set aside.
                3 cups AP flour.
                2/3 teaspoon baking soda.
                2 med eggs.
                1 cup mashed potatoes.
                1 cup whole milk.
                1/4 cup chopped cilantro or culantro.
                3 sprigs fresh thyme.
                3 stalks chopped green onion.
                2 scotch bonnet peppers chopped fine.{I like mine hot}
                salt and pepper to taste.
                neutral oil for deep frying.
                Sift flour and incorporate all the ingredients except the baking soda and let sit overnight.
                Add baking soda and stir until reaching a consistency firm enough to quenelle with two spoons.At this time you can roll in penko or deep fry as is in 325f oil in small batches.
                I usually serve with a curried mango chutney for dipping.


                1. re: Duppie

                  Thank you!

                  Well i couldn't wait, and after scouring the web, decided a bajan youtube version came closest to what I was looking for. This was after seeing a critique of another recipe that mocked the use of eggs or milk. So I added flour (about 1.5 cups for about a pound of codfish) and baking powder (about 1 tsp) to the prepared (soaked, boiled, shredded, seasoned) codfish, mostly water (but a little milk and egg that I had already poured out), and lightly formed them rather than dropping from a spoon. Almost what I remembered. But next time I will use less flour and NO egg. It was a little cakier than I wanted.

                  1. re: Shrinkrap

                    When next you have a moment...check out Caribbeanpot on YouTube,"Simplytrini "and "Tastes like home" websites. All excellent resources for traditional Island recipies and cooking techniques.
                    When my memory fails or I need inspiration I can always find what I need there.

                    1. re: Duppie

                      Will do! This is the one I watched.


                      And ended up watching several others that showed up alongside.

                      1. re: Shrinkrap

                        Thanks. I consumed many a Bajan salt fish cake and warm Banks beer in my youth.

        2. Euonymous,

          My Grandmother made these and the creamed salt cod over toast. Both excellent. I've been known to use the creamed cod like sausage gray or creamed beef (SOS) for breakfast.

          I can't find salt cod locally- a dull ethnic mix I guess. I go to Youngstown, OH occasionally and 3 grocery stores within 2 blocks all carry it on little styrofoam trays. I haven't seen the wood boxes in years.


          1 Reply
          1. re: Friend of Bill W.

            I hadn't seen it (salt cod in wooden boxes or any other container either for that matter) for years, but it suddenly popped up in my supermarket, probably because of the Italian feast of the seven fishes for Christmas. I'll have to go back to see if they have more. They clearly ordered too much.

            Thank you, everyone, for your wonderful suggestions. They sound great!

          2. I love Bermuda Fish Cake (Codfish Cakes) ...they are tradition here in Bermuda!

            We will make a Codfish Breakfast then what is left over we make the cakes by adding an egg and parsley for lunch.

            1. You didn't mention cooking the cod. I sort of poach it for about 10 minutes and drain well. Recently, we've chopped it in the food processor before combining with the mashed potatoes. It deals with some of the toughness I find with the fillets in the box. (Old New Englanders would serve these cakes with brown bread and baked beans.)

              10 Replies
              1. re: escondido123

                I believe that the soaking method is very traditional depending on the type of salt cod but IMO takes too long and the soaking in milk to be cost prohibitive. I generally boil in lots of water for about 20 minutes and then soak in cold water for another half an hour. Squeeze out residual water, de-bone and then flake. Works fine with little or no discernible difference in texture or taste.

                1. re: escondido123

                  Well, I'm not sure about that. I'm an old New Englander and we served hot dogs with brown bread and baked beans (still do sometimes, there is nothing like homemade brown bread and baked beans). The codfish cakes were usually a breakfast item, though when I made them for dinner the other day I served them with cole slaw.

                  1. re: Euonymous

                    Off the topic - but I would love a recipe for homemade brown bread. I grew up having it warmed in the can from B & M.

                    1. re: beanodc

                      I too had it from the can. For me, it's one of those childhood flavors. Just like the best mac and cheese won't replace Kraft dinner when I'm in the mood for it, I think a homemade brown bread just wouldn't do the trick.

                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                          thanks so much. I will give it a try.

                        2. re: beanodc

                          Brown bread is easy. The trouble is finding the darn 1lb. coffee tin to steam it in. I'll post the recipe in the morning.

                          1. re: Euonymous

                            I would love to have your recipe. I'll find the coffee can.

                            1. re: beanodc

                              Boston Brown Bread

                              1/2 C rye flour
                              1/2 C cornmeal
                              1/2 C whole wheat flour
                              1 tsp baking soda
                              1/2 tsp salt
                              1/3 C molasses
                              1 C sour milk.
                              1/2 C raisins, if desired

                              Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Stir in the molasses and milk (and raisins if you're using them) and blend well. Place into a buttered coffee tin or pudding mold until the container is no more than 2/3 full. Cover tightly with foil and place into a deep kettle. Add boiling water halfway up the mold or tin. Cover the kettle and steam over moderate heat for two hours, adding water as necessary.

                              When done, remove the bread from the mold and cut slices with string. (Draw the string around the bread, cross the ends, and pull on them.

                              Butter and eat. Yum!