Silicon Sips: Cod fishcakes bring a taste of Ireland home for St. Patrick’s Day

Fish and chips, fisherman’s pie, fish stew – the Irish make the most of their bounty of fish and potatoes. As is the case with many cultural dishes, recipes are equal parts imagination and availability. This makes potatoes an obvious star of so much Irish cuisine, but the island nation’s access to the sea is equally inspirational to the exceptional foods of the Irish.

The craggy cliffs and wild coast of Ireland make for a world-class fishing location. Cod is harvested from the Cork coastline to the Celtic Sea and the western Irish Sea. My favorite recipe of the fish and potato variety is cod fishcakes. The simple, prepare-ahead, comforting meal is a wonderful way to bring an authentic taste of Ireland into your home this St. Patrick’s Day season.

I serve these fishcakes with a simple green salad on the side. For a wine pairing, offer a well-chilled dry white wine, such as a Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc or an especially lovely Picpoul. If you aren’t already enjoying Picpoul, I encourage you to pick up a bottle. Generally well-priced, the wines have a lip-smacking zing to their classic profile and an of-the-sea, somewhat salinity attribute that is especially pleasant with the fishcakes. Available at most local markets, 2020 Pomerols Picpoul de Pinet Wine ($15) is a bright and citrus laden wine that may just become your “house white.”

Irish Cod Fishcakes

Tartar sauce

1 cup mayonnaise

2 heaping tablespoons capers, roughly chopped

2 heaping teaspoons creamed horseradish

2 heaping teaspoons Dijon or whole-grain mustard

1 shallot, very finely chopped

1 tablespoon Italian parsley, finely chopped


1 pound cod, from a sustainable source

2 bay leaves

1 cup milk

1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes

Zest of 1 lemon

1 tablespoon Italian parsley, chopped

1 tablespoon snipped chives

1 egg

1/2 cup flour (more if needed)

1 cup Panko breadcrumbs

3-4 tablespoons avocado or vegetable oil

Lemon wedges for serving

Make tartar sauce by mixing all sauce ingredients together in medium-sized bowl. Set aside.

Add fish and bay leaves to frying pan, pour over milk along with 1 cup water. Cover and bring to boil. Lower heat and simmer, covered, 4 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel and cube potatoes into equal pieces. Add to saucepan, cover with water, add pinch of salt and bring to boil. When potatoes are cooked, drain and return to saucepan. Place pan on low heat for a few minutes to let potatoes dry out. When there is very little steam leaving pan, potatoes are ready. Mash with potato masher or fork, then add 2 heaping tablespoons tartar sauce to potatoes and gently mix in. Remove fish from pan and discard cooking liquid. Flake fish and add to potato mixture along with chives and parsley. Fold gently to incorporate.

Set up dredge statin with flour in low bowl, egg beaten in another bowl and panko crumbs in a third low bowl. Using hands, form fish and potato mixture into even-sized “cakes.” Flour each, then dip in egg to wet both sides and, finally, dredge completely with breadcrumbs.

When all fishcakes are formed and breaded, cover and place in refrigerator atleast 30 minutes and up to 24 hours.

When ready to eat, remove from refrigerator. Heat oil in frying pan over medium heat. Place fishcakes in oil (you will want to do this in stages) and cook 5 minutes on each side. Place on wire rack set over cookie sheet and kept in 250-degree oven until all fishcakes are cooked, and you are ready to eat.

Serve with lemon wedges, remaining tartar sauce and a simple green salad.

(written for the Los Altos Town Crier)


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