Looking through my grandmothers and mothers old cook books, I came across some interesting Polish recipes. Growing up we always incorporated some Polish cuisine because of my heritage on my fathers mothers side. Every Easter we would have kielbasa and hard boiled eggs and New Years would always include pickled herring (which is actually not as horrid as it sounds).
I have made fish cakes before but never ones with potatoes in them. At first I thought that mashed potatoes wouldn't make an ideal texture for fish cakes, the key is you have to mash the potatoes extra "dry" so they form a light and fluffy consistency, this alone acts as the binder so you don't need any bread crumbs or egg (we save that for the outside). The result is a crispy outer edge with a moist flaky inside. I wanted to pair this with something light, so I decided to go the salad route and serve it with some Asian slaw. The acidity and added texture made for one delectable bite!
Polish Fish Cakes Over Broccoli Slaw
2-3 large fish fillets, you can either use cod, haddock, or Swai
1/2 cup milk (give or take)
2 dried bay leaves
1 medium sized russet potato, peeled and boiled until tender, and cooled
½ tsp finely grated lemon zest
1 TBS fresh white flatleaf parsley, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
for breading procedure...
flour (to shape cakes)
1 cup breadcrumbs (plain)
3-4 TBS vegetable or sunflower oil, for shallow frying
1.Lay the fish and bay leaves in a frying pan. Pour over just enough milk to barely cover the fish. Cover, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for about 3 mins. Take off the heat and let stand, covered, for 10 mins to gently finish cooking the fish. Lift the fish out of the milk with a slotted spoon and put on a plate to cool.
2.In a mixing bowl, mash cooled potatoes with a fork, you should have a light, dry fluffy mash. Season with salt and pepper, then add lemon zest and parsley.
3.Drain off liquid from the fish, grind some pepper over it, then flake it into big chunks into the pan of potatoes. Using your hands, gently lift the fish and potatoes together so they just mix. You'll only need a couple of turns, or the fish will break up too much. Put to the side and cool.
4.Meanwhile prep the breading station. Beat the egg in a large mixing bowl, then place the bread crumbs on a large plate. Carefully shape fish cakes with hands (you might want to dredge hands in flour first so the cakes won't stick), one by one, sit each cake in the egg, and brush over the top and sides so it is completely coated. Sit the cakes on the crumbs, patting the crumbs on the sides and tops so they are lightly covered. Transfer to a plate, cover and chill for 30 mins (or up to a day ahead).
5.Heat the oil in a large frying pan. To test when ready, drop a piece of the dry breadcrumbs in - if it sizzles and quickly turns golden brown, it is ready to use. Fry the fish cakes over a medium heat for about 5 mins on each side or until crisp and golden. Serve on top of slaw.
I sort of cheated with this one, I bought this pre-portioned brand at the store, but sometimes all you can find is the plain slaw and in that case I buy sunflower seeds, craisins, and ginger miso dressing and simply toss.
I also have a home made recipe HERE