Remember that feeling when you come from the market and realize you just overbought something? And we aren’t talking onions or potatoes. These things will keep forever if you store them right. I am talking fish. Yes, the king of all perishables, none other! Ok, maybe I am the only one that does that (yeah, right). But we somehow ended up with wild cod and Sockeye salmon on the same week. And while Sockeye is perfectly happy just being pan fried in butter, cod isn’t. I mean, if we didn’t have Sockeye earlier, pan fried cod would have passed with flying collars, but that’s not what happened.
So I had to look far and wide, and reach into the bottomless pit of the Internet for help. Too bad, the suggestions were all in either fish-n-chips or soup department. Don’t get me wrong, I adore soup. And, on top of that, it’s National Soup Month in America! Alas, we are on a low carb challenge, of all months we picked the National Soup Month to be counting carbs, and if you think carefully, you’ll see that soups are carby, except for when they are just broths; and even then, the broths that are done right are somewhat carby as well.
So I was royally screwed! Desperate, I reached for the books in my overstuffed cookbook library. I found a beautiful thing there in the folds of Vefa’s Kitchen Greek cookery book — Cod Croquettes. Nice! Well, breadcrumbs were the only thing, but ha! I had some breadcrumbs made from my own bread (saving for the next batch of Pumpernickel, will post some day), so I knew exactly how carby those were. Voila! Or “Opa!” if we are going fully ethnic here…
And so everything went very well, right up until the point where croquettes hit the skillet. The beautiful croquettes just didn’t want to stick together, they turned into mushy mush-mush thingies that were impossible to even transfer from the skillet without losing half of them along the way. Disappointed? You bet! But not defeated, not in my kitchen.
I grab a casserole dish and scoop all remaining mix, along with mushy croquettes into it. I smooth it over and into the 400°F oven it goes for 40 minutes. Problem solved. And since I was no longer slaving over the hot skillet frying the wretched croquettes, I quickly tossed a nice salad and even managed to make French Vinaigrette dressing from scratch.
Don’t ask. That’s just the way I am. And you know what? The Cod Croquettes-turned-Cod Bake went over very well in my family. Even the kid ate them!
Cod Croquettes Turned Cod Bake
Adapted from Vefa’s Kitchen Cod Croquettes recipe
- 2 lbs of cod fillets, sliced fairly thin into small strips of pieces
- 2 large eggs
- 1 large onion, grated
- 1 large tomato, grated (peeling and seeding is optional, IMHO)
- 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 4 tbsp chopped fresh parsley or mint
- 1 tsp dry oregano
- 1/2 tsp salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup breadcrumbs from day-old bread
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tbsp olive oil + some more for frying if making croquettes
- a bit of flour to thicken the batter, if necessary
Mix everything but fish nicely to generate thick batter. Add flour if batter is too runny. It should be about the consistency of sour cream or yogurt.
Fold in the fish and mix well by hand to prevent breaking the fish bits down.
Now, you can take the croquettes route, which mean you’ll have to fry them in oil on a skillet, scooping a large spoonful at a time, frying over slow heat, about 5 minutes on each side.
Or, if you are like me, you can fold the batter into a casserole dish and back for 40 minutes at 400°F. Only in your case (lucky for you), it won’t be an emergency, but rather a deliberate choice.