Friday, September 21, 2012

Hooray for fish!

Back to the topic of Allie being a picky eater once in a while. Sometimes I find it really hard to get her to eat fish. She usually does well with canned tuna (as long as it's a "Tuna sandwich", see the older post here), but canned tuna is not the best kind of seafood you can eat. We've tried salmon several times; roasted, grilled, broiled, but nope, won't eat it. To get her to eat 2-3 bites I would quote a book "Hooray for fish", one of our favorites, and would slowly "swim" the fork with a piece of fish on it into Allie's mouth while saying "Hooray for fish... Twirly-burly-twisty-twirly...Upside-down round and round...How many friend, how many fish, splush-splash-splish" .This was me quoting the book totally wrong, but whatever, it keeps Allie distracted for a coupe bites, until she realizes that she is eating fish. And then it's over. Sh tells me "Mama, stop it!" How can I force her to eat after this "mama, stop it" request?! 

So I am excited to report that I've found a way for Allie to eat fish. Let me rephrase it, enjoy fish. And the way is fishcakes! She likes her fish sticks too, but fish cakes would be the option #1 for her and for me (for me, because you can sneak in some veggies in there too). 

Yesterday I realized that I had some fish left from making the fish sticks the other day and decided to make some for dinner for all of us. I had 3 small fillets of tilapia left. Then I figured that 3 fillets for 3 people, one of whom will have run 15 miles right before dinner (hint: not me and not Allie) will just be pushing it, so I thought fish cakes would be a perfect solution to use a little fish that was left. 3 small fillets produced 7 small fish cakes. 

Yummy fish cakes

3 fillets of flaky white fish (tilapia, haddock, halibut or really any white flaky fish will do)
Mustard seed, coriander seed, bayleaf (crushed of whole), whole black peppercorns, a pinch of each
1/2 whole lemon
couple strings of parsley
1 celery stalk, very finely chopped
1-2 green onion stalks, both white bases and green parts
1 clove of garlic, put through a garlic press, of finely shredded
1 Tbsp mayo
1/2 Cup panko
1 egg
Olive oil for frying

Start by preparing your poaching liquid for the fish.Poaching is a great technique to use for baby cooking because it keeps the fish moist and adds the flavor without adding any fat. Put about a cup of water in a sauteing pan that has a lid. You want the fish to be just covered with the water. Alternatively, you can add less water and have the fish steamed, instead of poached, which is actually what I ended up doing. Both are very healthy cooking techniques. Add the mustard seed, coriander seed, bayleaf (1 if using a whole leaf or a pinch of using crushed), black peppercorns, lemon, parsley strings and a bit of salt. Bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to keep the liquid simmer and add in your fish fillets.

Cover with the lid and let cook for about 7 minutes. It may take a bit longer depending on the fillets' size.

In the meantime, prepare the rest of your ingredients in a bowl. Start with some garlic, I use my zester for garlic, but garlic press is even better if you have one.

Chop the celery and scallions and add them both into the bowl with the garlic.

Add in the chopped parsley

By this time your fish should be fully cooked. Transfer the fillets into the bowl, being careful about leaving all the spices (those whole peppercorns and mustard and coriander) in the pan. Start flaking the fish with 2 forks.

Mix the flaked fish with the remaining ingredients in the bowl

Add in an egg

A little mayo

and some Panko

And mix it well together. Taste and adjust the seasonings.  Now it's time to form the cakes and send them off on their way to the frying pan with some heated up olive oil on. Teflon covered pans are great for this. No sticking.

They will take about 4-5 minutes to cook on one side. Once they're nice and brown, flip them on the other side and give them another 3-4 minutes.

Transfer cooked cakes to a dish lined with some paper towels to drain the extra oil.

You can serve them with your favorite fish dipping sauce, such as tartar or whatever you like to serve with your fish. I personally like some balsamic vinegar on the side for a little extra flavor. I think everything is better with balsamic vinegar. Allie loved these fishcakes and I'll be making them again soon!

Hooray for fish cakes! :)

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