Newfoundland Fish Cakes are a delicious comfort food tradition that’s part of our collective culinary culture.
UPDATE: April 2015. I added new photos of this recipe today which are destined for my second cookbook this Fall. I’ve also included a great brunch idea for this traditional favourite by incorporating fish cakes in to a version of Eggs Benedict! Get my shortcut Hollandaise Sauce recipe here.
From Jan 30, 2009
Today’s dish and photo come courtesy of 13 year old guest chef Laura Taylor from Conception Bay South who was looking for tips on making Fish Cakes the traditional Newfoundland way. She chose fish cakes as a traditional Newfoundland meal to complete an assignment for her Grade 8 Social Studies class at Vila Nova School where she is a French Immersion student, hence the photo label Gateau de Poisson.
This very simple dish was a staple on many Newfoundland kitchen tables for who knows how long; probably hundreds of years, given that the simple ingredients were readily available from the land and the sea.
I remember my grandmothers cooking them in large cast iron skillets in the rendered fat from making scrunchions. For our non-native readers, scrunchions are a very traditional accompaniment to several traditional Newfoundland meals and are simply cured fat back pork which is diced in small cubes and then fried until crispy to render out most of the fat.
It does my heart good to know that our food culture is still being kept alive in the classroom. You did a great job on these, Laura; I think they look delicious. If your Social Studies teacher doesn’t give you an A on this one, tell him to take it up with me! 😉
One of my brunch favourites uses these traditional fish cakes in a new way by adding placed eggs and Hollandaise sauce. I sometimes add some crumbled crisp cooked bacon on top as well because what isn’t better with bacon?!
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Find many more traditional and Newfoundland inspired recipes here and find many more recipes for Fish and Seafood here.
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- 1 ½ pounds salt dried cod
- ¼ cup butter
- 1 small chopped onion
- 6 cups mashed potato
- 1 beaten egg
- 2 tbsp dried savoury (optional)
- ½ tsp black pepper
Soak the salt cod in cold water overnight.
Simmer the salt cod in boiling water for about 15 minutes. Drain the water off the fish and allow the fish to cool to almost room temperature.
When the fish is cool, flake it apart with a fork into small pieces.
In a sauté pan, melt the butter over medium heat.
Add the onions and cook until they are softened.
Add the flaked fish along with the mashed potato, egg, pepper and savoury.
Mix together until well combined, then form into small cakes and roll in flour.
Fry the fish cakes in canola oil over medium heat until golden brown on both sides.
Serve with scrunchions if desired.