CAPERED FISH CAKES WITH OLIVE-ANCHOVY RELISH
You’ve heard of crab cakes. This version is lighter, main-taining that “comfort food” quality, but with a Mediter-ranean ﬂair. Depending on your calorie needs and taste preferences, they can be either quickly fried in olive oil for a delightful crispy texture, or baked in the oven—not as crisp, but plenty satisfying nevertheless. Either option is delicious, especially when topped with the briny, sparkling taste of olive-anchovy relish. You can almost see the Mediterranean when you taste this exquisite combination! If you can’t ﬁnd
them or don’t like them, you can leave the sardines out of the ﬁsh cakes and the anchovies out of the relish, but both add such a pleasant depth to the ﬂavors that we hope you will choose to give them a try.
By the way, Eve’s seven-year-old son/taste tester loved these, although he suggested that next time she “leave out the little green things” (i.e., the scallions). We suggest keep-ing the “little green things.” The relish is strongly ﬂavored and not particularly kid-friendly, but the ﬁsh cakes on their own (dare we say with a little ketchup?) make a pleasant supper for all ages.
1 pound cod ﬁllet
½ cup vegetable broth
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
3 scallions, ﬁnely chopped, including some of the green part
1 tablespoon capers, drained and minced
2 cloves fresh garlic, peeled and minced
2 sardines, drained and chopped
¼ cup whole-wheat or all-purpose ﬂour
1 cup dried whole-grain bread crumbs
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon fresh dill (or 1 teaspoon dried dill) 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil and vegetable broth and tilt the pan to coat. Add the cod ﬁllet. Cook until the ﬁsh is cooked through and ﬂakes nicely, about 15 minutes, ﬂipping the ﬁllet halfway through cook-ing. If the ﬁsh falls apart into the vegetable broth, that’s ﬁne—you’ll be ﬂaking it apart anyway.
Remove the cooked cod to a large mixing bowl and ﬂake apart with a fork. Cod is a ﬁrm-ﬂeshed ﬁsh, so if a fork isn’t working very well, don’t be afraid to get in there with your ﬁngers and rub the ﬁsh to break up the big chunks. Add the scallions, capers, sardines, garlic, and ﬂour.
In a small bowl, combine bread crumbs and cheese. Add 1⁄2 cup of the bread crumb mixture to the ﬁsh. Stir to com-bine. Mix the eggs with a fork in a small bowl or cup, then add the eggs and dill to the ﬁsh mixture. Stir thoroughly un-til the mixture resembles a thick paste.
Spread remaining 1⁄2 cup bread crumbs on a large plate. Dust your hands with a little ﬂour, and take about 1⁄16 of the mixture in your hands. Shape it into a patty, then press the patty into the bread crumb mixture, coating both sides. Re-peat with remaining mixture to make six patties.
To fry: Put 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium skillet, just large enough to hold the six patties (or a smaller one, doing the patties in batches, although if you do it this way, you may have to add more olive oil). Turn burner to medium, and heat until the oil releases its aroma, about 5 minutes. Place patties in pan and cook until golden brown and crispy, ﬂipping once, about 5 minutes on each side.
To bake: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Rub a thin layer of olive oil on a cookie sheet, or spray with olive oil nonstick cooking spray. Place patties on the cookie sheet so they don’t touch one another. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown on both sides, ﬂipping patties halfway through cook-ing time.
Serve hot, room temperature, or cold, with or without a salad, or stuffed in a pita with fresh spinach. If desired, top with olive-anchovy relish (recipe below).
½ cup black olives (not“California-style”), pitted and coarsely chopped
½ cup green olives, pitted and coarsely chopped 2 tablespoon capers, drained
1 clove fresh garlic, minced
2 anchovy ﬁllets, drained and coarsely chopped 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Mix all ingredients. Spoon over ﬁsh cakes or other ﬁsh or meat.
Tip: To pit olives quickly, use a cherry pitter or press the ﬂat side of a wide knife against the olive to crush it, then pick out the pit.
Makes 1 cup, or approximately 6 servings.
This olive/caper/anchovy paste originated in France. It tastes great on pita, baguette, or your favorite bread. It’s similar to the olive-anchovy relish above, but chopped down to be more of a paste. In fact, you can pulse the above recipe in a food processor (add a tablespoon of brandy if desired) for a version of tapenade. Or try this one, below. Pair it with bread for spreading and a Greek salad, and you’ve got lunch! To make this a vegetarian dish, just leave out the an-chovies.
1 cup black olives (not “California-style”) ¼ cup capers
12 anchovy ﬁlets
2 garlic cloves, minced
⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil Juice of half a fresh lemon
1 tablespoon brandy (optional)
In a blender or food processor ﬁtted with the metal blade, combine all ingredients and process to a grainy paste (tape-
nade is sometimes called the “caviar of Provence,” so think caviar when determining the proper texture). Tapenade keeps in the refrigerator for about a week. If the paste is too dry or doesn’t blend well, add another tablespoon of olive oil. Serve as a dip for raw vegetables or a spread for fresh bread.