Incredibly flavourful fish cakes made with cod, potato and lots of fresh herbs.
Greeks have a special relationship with cod (bakaliaros) despite the fact that you don’t find fresh cod in the waters around Greece. Salt preservation and curing however have made Atlantic cod an important staple for many European countries, particularly for those people living in non-coastal communities. In fact, cod has been an important commodity in Europe and the other parts of the world for over 1,000 years.
For many in Greece, and the Greek diaspora, bakaliaros is the traditional food served on March 25th, to celebrate Greek independence from Ottoman rule, a day which also coincides with the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary. To make this traditional meal, salted cod is soaked for days and then batter fried and served with skordalia (a potato garlic spread) and greens.
Salted cod is a beautiful thing, and so versatile. Fresh cod however is also amazing. Cod is a pretty mild flavoured yet hearty fish and its creamy white colour and flaky, delicate texture lend themselves to creating elegant dishes, like our herbed cod with pasta. and marinated artichokes. At the same time cod is the perfect base for making delicious cod cakes.
One of us was fortunate to spend time in Newfoundland & Labrador, our easternmost Canadian province which sits on the Atlantic Ocean. Cod fishing is an important industry there and despite the current concern over cod stocks, expected to last a few more years at least, cod remains a staple ingredient in the local cuisine, including cod cakes which often appeared at breakfast (and lunch, and dinner).
It was the many wonderful meals enjoyed in Newfoundland that inspired this recipe for cod potato cakes. Although the potato adds substance to these fish cakes, the flavour and texture of the cod still comes through, enhanced by the fresh herbs and the lemon. The outside is crispy and the inside remains moist – these are definitely some of the best cod potato cakes we have every had, and we’ve had lots!
How to make cod potato cakes.
Key to making exceptional cod potato cakes is to treat the cod right. After it is cooked, break the cod apart with your fingers. Although much of it will be finely crumbled you should keep most of it in small chunks. These chunks will break down as you are mixing your ingredients together but you should still be able to see pieces of intact cod in your mixture.
The potatoes should be mashed very well. If you need to add some water to the potatoes add some of the water you boiled your potatoes in. Leftover mashed potatoes work really well in this recipe.
What kind of potatoes should be used for cod potato cakes?
Any kind of potato will do actually. If you are using leftover mash, great! Otherwise, boil some peeled potatoes and mash them well with a potato masher or ricer. If you need to add some liquid, use the water the potatoes were boiled in.
We have made these potato cod cakes with russet potatoes, Yukon Gold potatoes and even fingerling potatoes. Any potato will work well (except sweet potatoes!).
Looking for more fish recipes? Check these out:
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Cod potato cakes
- 1 baking pan
- 1 Frying pan
- 1 Spatula
- 425 grams cod fillet
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- ¼ cup onion, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced
- 1¼ cup mashed potatoes will need about 3 medium size potatoes
- 1 large egg
- 1 tbsp bread crumbs
- 1 tbsp grated lemon rind
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- ¼ cup dill, finely chopped
- ¼ cup parsley, finely chopped
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- olive oil for frying plus more for greasing bottom of baking pan
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare your cod by patting it dry with paper towels. Next place the fish in a baking pan coated with the olive oil. Season fish with salt and pepper. Bake in the middle rack of your oven for 12 - 15 minutes, until the cod is flaky and cooked through. Allow to cool until easy to handle.425 grams cod fillet, ¼ tsp salt, ¼ tsp pepper
- Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a frying pan and saute the onion and garlic over medium heat until soft and translucent. Remove from heat and set aside.olive oil for frying, ¼ cup onion, finely chopped, 1 clove garlic, finely minced
- In a large bowl break apart the cooked cod with your fingers, leaving some small chunks. Add the cooked onion and garlic, the mashed potatoes, lemon juice and rind, the herbs, the egg, the breadcrumbs and salt and pepper. Mix gently, until well combined.1¼ cup mashed potatoes, 1 large egg, 1 tbsp bread crumbs, 1 tbsp grated lemon rind, 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice, ¼ cup dill, finely chopped, ¼ cup parsley, finely chopped, ½ tsp salt, ¼ tsp pepper
- Prepare your cod cakes by forming them with damp hands. We like to use about 2 - 3 tablespoons of mixture for each cod cake; any larger and they become difficult to flip in the pan as they cook. Shape them into rounds and flatten until they are approximately ½ inch thick.
- Heat about ⅓ inch of oil in a frying pan and fry the cod potato cakes, a few at a time so as to not crowd the pan. Flip over carefully after a few minutes. The cod cakes are ready when they are golden brown on both sides. This will take about 4 minutes / side.olive oil for frying
- Serve with lemon wedges and enjoy.