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Newfoundland Fish Cakes

Newfoundland Fish Cakes. A delicious comfort food tradition that’s part of our collective culinary culture. Made with the simplest of ingredients like Potatoes, fish and onions.

Newfoundland Fish Cakes

Newfoundland Fish Cakes

Originally published Jan, 2009.

UPDATE: April 2015. I added new photos of this recipe today which are destined for my second cookbook this Fall.

From Jan 30, 2009

Today’s dish and photo come courtesy of 13 year old guest chef Laura Taylor. Laura is from  from Conception Bay South and 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.

Photo collage of Newfoundland fish cakes by Laura Taylor

Newfoundland Fish Cakes. 2009 photo.

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’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.

Newfoundland Fish Cakes Eggs Benedict. A traditional favourite food dressed up for an elegant brunch.

Fish Cakes Eggs Benedict

Newfoundland fish cakes, a traditional favourite.

I remember my grandmother’s 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.

They are simply cured fat back pork which is diced in small cubes and then fried until crispy to render out most of the fat.

russet potatoes, close up image. Stock photo from Dwepositphotos

I like to use Russet Potatoes for this recipe. They tend to hold the fish cake mixture together better.

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! 😉

photo of a container of Mt. Scio Farm Savoury

Mt Scio Savoury is traditional in this recipe, but you’ll find a couple of substitution suggestions in the recipe notes below.

A brunch idea and an easy lower sodium substitution. 

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?!

Newfoundland Fish Cakes

Newfoundland Fish Cakes

If you don’t like salt fish, or just if you are trying to reduce sodium in your diet, fresh or frozen cod can easily be substituted.

Two Slices of Raw Fresh Cod Fish Fillet closeup on Wooden Cutting Board

Fresh cod is a staple of Newfoundland cooking.

The only thing to be watchful for is seasoning the potato mix. It will likely need a little more salt to taste, to make up for some of what was lost in the substitution.

As always, taste as you go, and adjust the seasoning accordingly.

Looking for more Newfoundland recipes?

If you’d like to see more traditionally inspired recipes from our province, please check out this collection on some of our Most Popular Newfoundland recipes.

Top Ten Newfoundland Recipes photo collage for Pinterest

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Newfoundland Fish Cakes

Newfoundland Fish Cakes

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Newfoundland Fish Cakes
Yield: 18 fish cakes

Newfoundland Fish Cakes

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Newfoundland Fish Cakes. These traditional Newfoundland fish cakes have been made for countless generations using the most basic of ingredients like potatoes, salt fish and onions.

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ pounds salt dried cod (See note below for substituting fresh fish)
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 small chopped onion
  • 6 cups mashed potato
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 2 tbsp dried savoury, (optional) (See notes for substitutions)
  • ½ tsp black pepper

Instructions

  1. Soak the salt cod in cold water overnight.
  2. 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.
  3. When the fish is cool, flake it apart with a fork into small pieces.
  4. In a sauté pan, melt the butter over medium heat.
  5. Add the onions and cook until they are softened.
  6. Add the flaked fish along with the mashed potato, egg, pepper and savoury.
  7. Mix together until well combined, then form into small cakes and roll in flour.
  8. Fry the fish cakes in canola oil over medium heat until golden brown on both sides.
  9. Serve with scrunchions if desired.

Notes

If you don't like salt fish, or just if you are trying to reduce sodium in your diet, fresh or frozen cod can easily be substituted.

The only thing to be watchful for is seasoning the potato mix. It will likely need a little more salt to taste, to make up for some of what was lost in the substitution.

As always, taste as you go, and adjust the seasoning accordingly.

Savoury is a very traditional herb for this recipe but if it is not readily available you can substitute other hers which go well with fish, like parsley, dill, or even tarragon if you like it.

Prep time does not include the overnight soaking time for the salt, dried cod. Scrunchions are ½ inch cubes of cured pork fatback that are fried and rendered to a crispy texture. The scrunchions and rendered fat get served over the fish cakes.

The nutritional information provided is automatically calculated by third party software and is meant as a guideline only. Exact accuracy is not guaranteed. For recipes where all ingredients may not be used entirely, such as those with coatings on meats, or with sauces or dressings for example, calorie & nutritional values per serving will likely be somewhat lower than indicated.

Recommended Products

Rock Recipes a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Our product recommendations are almost exclusively for those we currently use or have used in the past.

Nutrition Information

Yield

18

Serving Size

g

Amount Per Serving Calories 179Saturated Fat 1gCholesterol 73mgSodium 2689mgCarbohydrates 9gFiber 1gProtein 25g

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Wilb Porter

Sunday 14th of March 2021

I gave up after having to scroll through multiple ads. Very frustrating.

Purchase

Monday 1st of March 2021

Fish Cakes were Super and great for someone who is feeling a bit homesick for Newfoundland,,like me from time to time, living away. The Mt. Scio,,gives that wonderful extra lovely flavour! THANKS!! It is always in my cupboard,,and replenished by my family when I am getting low..

Sue

Wednesday 24th of February 2021

Made these tonight, very good !! I only used 1tblsp of the savory, thinking I might try Old Bay next time. I also airfried them, 15 min at 400. had baked beans on the side.

Sue

Tuesday 23rd of February 2021

2 tblsps. of Savory ??? are you sure ?? I used 1 and thought it wss a little much. otherwise really good !!

Maureen Anderson

Tuesday 23rd of February 2021

I have a good friend from "Down Home" and made these with fresh frozen cod: yesterday. He said that they were almost as good as his Mom's. What he missed was the taste of salted cod, which would give it a slightly different taste. Thanks, Barry.......just means that next time I get some fresh Cod, I will have to salt it for him. Coming from BC and never being to the Rock, I'm slowly learning how to cook for the friend to " take him home."

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