Fish cakes don’t sound exciting to me, usually, anyway. But if we’re talking about crispy-golden-coconut-fried morsels eaten piping hot with herby explosions of flavor and chunks of tender, mild, delectable fish, now that’s got my interest! I find that not only do these deliver tongue-twirling flavor, they pique my nourishment antennae with the inclusion of extra vegetables in the form of the brand-new baby mustard greens of spring.
Pairing the mustard greens with more mustard and generous amounts of lubricating, satisfying fats brings just the right balance to such assertive greens. Also bringing outstanding flavor to the palate are the red flecks of crushed pepper and the clean astringency of cilantro. Also, you could easily make this recipe dairy-free by substituting coconut or olive oil where butter is used.
Try to find the purest whitefish sources you can. In our area, though not quite full-grown yet, there are a few back-yard aquaponic tilapia “nurseries”. This would be a fantastic source as the fish are fed from the very plants that clean their water and their waste helps feed the plants. Here’s a simple breakdown.
- 1 lb. whitefish such as tilapia, cod, or flounder, thawed
- ½ lemon
- 1 cup sourdough crumbs, toasted (for lower carb, use Joseph's pita crumbs)
- 5 oz. tender mustard greens, about ¾ cooked
- 1 bunch cilantro, about ⅔ cup minced
- 3 green onions
- 2 eggs
- 3 heaping tbs. mayo
- 2 tbs. Dijon mustard
- 2 cloves garlic
- 4 tbs. butter, divided
- Salt, pepper, red pepper flakes
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Rinse fish, squeeze lemon on top, place in a baking dish and season lightly with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Dot with 2 tbs. butter. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until the fish pulls apart easily with a fork. Flake gently leaving some larger pieces and empty into a large bowl.
- Rinse mustard greens, remove the stems, and slice into thin strips. Saute until wilted with remaining 2 tbs. butter, about 4-5 mins. Season sparingly with salt and set aside.
- Wash and remove larger stems from cilantro, pulse in the food processor into finely minced. Remove to the bowl with flaked fish.
- Trim and chop green onions into thirds, add to food processor along with eggs, mayo, mustard, garlic cloves. Process until well-combined. Add to bowl with fish and cilantro. Add cooked mustard greens and bread crumbs, mix gently.
- Using a ⅓ cup measure, form mixture into cakes with damp hands and place on a baking sheet. Chill at least 30 mins before frying on medium-high in heated coconut oil for about 3-5 mins per side. Drain on paper towel. Keep warm in the oven until serving. Makes 9⅓-cup cakes.
Anna lives Buffalo, NY surrounded by a cityscape of both blight and hope. She receives inspiration from the next-door urban farm and loves nothing more than to spend a lazy summer Saturday perusing the lush stalls of a farmers market with her two lively children and husband. Cream and butter are two of her most adored ingredients.
She is devoted to sustainable food sourcing and to encouraging others to find the links between simple, beautiful food and thriving health. Some of her major influences include Alice Waters, Sally Fallon, and the More-With-Less cookbooks. She enjoys challenging herself with serving large gatherings, living with intentional restraint, and engaging her children in the creative world of food.
Above all, she values relationships and finds joy in bringing people together around the table.
You can find her blogging at eastsidepicurean.com .
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