Makes about 1 dozen.
Cod cakes are a nice departure from traditional crab cakes. These mini cakes make perfect bite-size hors d’oeuvres or larger for lunch or dinner. Everyone loves these! They are delicious with a dollop of the lime cilantro sauce, below. This recipe is easy to cut in half.
2 pounds cod fillets
1/2 to 3/4 cup fresh parsley, minced
1/2 medium red onion, diced
2 to 3 celery ribs
3/4 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
5 dashes hot sauce
2 teaspoons kosher salt (less if using table or sea salt)
1 cup bread crumbs, (Panko is easy to use)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the cod fillets on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 20 minutes; let cool to room temperature.
2. Using a food processor, chop the parsley leaves. Add the onions and celery and mince. Place the mixture in a fine strainer to drain for at least 20 minutes. Take the parsley mixture from the strainer and squeeze with your hands to remove excess liquid. (I skip the draining part and squeeze all the liquid out with my hands and use right away)
3. Place the cod in a large mixing bowl. Add the parsley mixture and the remaining ingredients except the bread crumbs and mix with a rubber spatula. Try not to overmix – you want to leave some texture. Once the ingredients are blended, fold in the bread crumbs.
4. Shape the mixture into mini cakes, about 1 inch by 1/2 inch wide, like small barrels for appetizer size or regular crabcake size for dinner. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
5. Heat enough oil in a cast-iron skillet or non-stick pan to coat the bottom of the pan. Over medium-high heat, saute the cakes in batches until golden, about 3 minutes per side. Serve with sauce.
Adapted from Vineyard Harvest by Tina Miller.
Middle Eastern Lamb Koftas
Makes about 2 dozen.
No plates or fuss required with these flavorful mini lamb skewers, just a dip into a cooling yogurt sauce. After you mix the lamb with flavorings, you form them and pre-bake them in the oven. They can then be refrigerated for hours or overnight, and reheated on a grill just before serving.
1 pound ground lamb
1/2 cup finely minced red onion or shallot
2 teaspoons fresh garlic, minced or pressed through a garlic press
1/4 cup fresh minced parsley or mint
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika (or 1/4 teaspoon cayenne)
2 tablespoons apricot jam
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4-to 6-inch wooden skewers
Pita bread, for garnish
1. In a bowl, mix the ground lamb with the minced onion or shallot, garlic, mint, yolks, spices, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly.
2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. With your hands, take a heaping tablespoon of the mixture and mold onto end of the skewer, in the shape of a football. Place onto the baking sheet, and repeat until you have filled it. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and bake the entire sheet for 6 to 8 minutes. Cool slightly, cover with foil and place in the fridge until you are ready to serve. When ready to serve, heat a grill. Oil grates well. Reheat the lamb skewers until they have grill marks on both sides and are hot, just a few minutes. Place on a platter with the yogurt sauce in a small bowl.
Makes about 2 1/2 cups.
Serve as a spread with pita bread and dip for crudités, or as a sauce with fish, grilled steak or lamb kabobs.
2 cups plain yogurt (Greek style or whole milk taste)
1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut into tiny dice (skip if using for sauces)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro or mint (or combo)
Salt and pepper, to taste
1. Drain yogurt into a colander, lined with a coffee filter or a few paper towels for 20 to 30 minutes.
2. Cut cucumber in half and scrape out seeds with a teaspoon. Cut into 1/4-inch dice. Combine with yogurt, olive oil, garlic, cilantro or mint, parsley, salt and pepper.
3. Serve with pita bread cut into wedges, and use them to scoop up the salad.
Lime Cilantro Sauce
This is a very easy, flexible sauce which usually comes out tasty no matter what the proportions.
1/2 to 1 bunch cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
1/2 to 3/4 cup Hellman’s mayonnaise
1 lime, juiced
pinch of salt
Add all the ingredients into a food processor and blend until sauce consistency. Taste, and adjust lime or salt to taste.