We were going through the book in order. Up next was codfish cakes. Seemed simple enough, like a poorman’s crabcake. Right?
Brent had been at No Frills and whaddya know?– they had cod for sale in the frozen section. Forget going to a fancy fishmarket, this was far more convenient. It looked like I would need a new excuse to head down to St. Lawrence Market. Or so I thought. Turns out Brent had bought salted cod. The key indicator that something was amiss (I refuse to say fishy) was the fact that the fish contained a whopping 400% of your daily sodium. Nevertheless we soldiered on, convinced we could simply rinse the salt off.
The recipe was weird from the get-go. We had to boil the fish for 5 minutes in milk until it was soft. Except after 5 minutes it did not “flake,” it was not soft. I let it keep cooking. Around the 15 minute mark I determined it would not cook any more. I broke off a piece. It tasted cooked… and still very salty. That’s ok, we would omit the salt from the rest of the recipe. Right down to boiling the potatoes in unsalted water.
Even after the cod had been combined with the turnip, the mashed potatoes and all the other fixin’s… it was not good. I would try a bite and at first it would be ok, but as soon as I hit upon the cod my face would twist. It was still so salty! Even after adding lemon juice (which helped a bit) it was still too salty. They were beyond rescue and we had to bail midway through the recipe.
The next week we attempted it again. This time with fresh cod. Things went a lot more smoothly. After 5 minutes the fish was flaky. I did not have to dump out a pan of curdled, yellowed/browned milk from the frying pan at the end (that may have been the grossest part of our first attempt, the pan had burnt milk making a horrible pattern in the bottom, setting off my mild tryptophobia*).
Tasting verdict? Mediocre. Like I said: a poorman’s crabcake. Cheap, mild tasting fish, and the cake was filled out with potatoes. Meh. But what do you expect from British cuisine?
*The lengths that I went to in order to find out the correct name of it, instead of just referring to it as fear of holes. I always get it mixed up with trichotillomania. The Google results for “fear of holes” were beyond unpleasant for someone who has trypophobia. Why would you do that to me Google??