These delicious cod cakes use fresh cod instead of the more classic holiday baccala (salted cod). This makes for a much simpler and faster preparation for your Feast of the Seven Fishes!
For the salsa verde:
- Leaves from 1 medium bunch Italian flat-leaf parsley
- 1 tablespoon brined capers, drained
- 2 oil-packed anchovy fillets
- 2 cloves garlic
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1 small lemon
- Best quality extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
For the cod cakes:
- 2 large potatoes
- 2 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
- 6 peppercorns
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 lemon, cut into 4 wedges
- 1-pound fresh cod, skinless
- ½ cup Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- 1 tablespoon brined capers, roughly chopped
- Zest of ½ lemon
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Olive oil
To serve: Fresh chopped parsley, Additional lemon wedges
- Make the salsa verde: On a large cutting board, place the parsley, capers, anchovies, and garlic. Give them a medium chop. Precision is not important here, but you want small chucks but not minced.
- Place the chopped ingredients in a small jar, add a pinch of crushed red pepper and juice the lemon into the jar.
- Add just enough extra virgin olive oil to just cover the ingredients. Close the jar and shake vigorously. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste (the anchovies and capers will have added a lot of salt already). If using within a few hours, set aside. Otherwise, refrigerate.
- Make the cod cakes: Peel and cut the potatoes in equally sized chunks. Put in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Add 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Bring to a boil and boil until potatoes are tender. Drain and place in a large bowl. Mash with a fork or potato masher. Set aside.
- In a shallow, wide pan with high sides, add about an inch of water and set over medium heat. Add the peppercorns and bay leaf. Squeeze 1 wedge of lemon into the water and add the squeezed lemon to the pan. Bring the pan to a simmer. Place the cod into the pan and simmer until the fish is cooked through, about 8 minutes. Carefully remove the fish from the water. Place on a dish and set aside to cool.
- To the bowl with the potatoes, add in the parsley, capers, lemon zest, remaining 1 ½ teaspoons salt, and pepper. Stir to combine. Flake the cooked fish into the bowl and gently mix to incorporate. (You want to keep the fish flakes as whole as possible.)
- Form the mixture into 6 to 8 small patties. Place them on a baking sheet. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- Warm a few tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a sauté pan. Once the oil is shimmering, carefully add the cod cakes to the pan. Do not crowd – you may need to do this in batches. Sauté the cod cakes until they are golden brown, about 4 minutes per side. Carefully flip and sauté the other side.
- As they finish, remove them to a serving platter. (You can also keep the cod cakes warm in a low oven 250 degrees Fahrenheit until ready to serve.) Sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley. Serve with the remaining lemon wedges plus additional and the salsa verde sauce on the side.
- Make-ahead: The salsa verde can be made 3 or 4 days in advance. Refrigerate and bring to room temperature before serving. Cod cakes can be made and formed a day in advance. Bring the cakes to room temperature before cooking.
- The briny Italian salsa verde is all about the quality of the olive oil so use the best quality that you have to prepare.