This week Chef Ken Cmar, longest standing CeL employee, owner of Wonderdrug Records, fisherman, canning enthusiast, and all around great guy crafted a dish for the ONCE a Week inspired by a favorite New England culinary tradition.
A somewhat forgotten New England Sunday morning tradition, fish cakes and beans is one of my favorite regional treats.
“The American Frugal Housewife”, published in Boston in 1833, features one of the first known recipes for a mixture of fish and mashed potatoes—what we now know as fish cakes—that were "dipped in egg, and fried till brown.”
These early recipes featured Salt cod as this was before refrigeration.
Now they are mostly made with fresh, inexpensive whitefish like hake, haddock or pollock (which we used). Over time, ingredients such as onions and parsley were added to liven the cakes up a bit. Surprisingly, these cakes were served for Sunday breakfast, usually accompanied by baked beans that were left to cook overnight (a method we don't recommend).
Unfortunately, this unique and delicious meal has fallen out of favor in New England kitchens, so we at CeL have decided to bring it to you!
We mixed pollock with mashed sweet potatoes and red potatoes. Then added some onion, shallot, sautéed kale and thyme. We used a bit of egg to bind them, and then coated them with seasoned breadcrumbs and browned them in some butter.
Chef Sean suggests that you reheat the cakes in a toaster oven, and serve them with our delicious baked beans on the side. Throw a farm fresh over easy egg on top for bonus points. Heaven!