Trader Joe's recently-introduced canned smoked mackerel looked interesting, so I got a can and started thinking about what to do with it. Seafood cakes of any kind have always been high on my list, but I was concerned about oily smoked fish … then when I opened the can, it was in a very light oil, and not heavily flavored at all – in fact, it needed a bit of salt. I took out about half of it and, remembering what I knew about fish cakes in general, made up a small batch into two cakes. Well, those were too thick and stodgy, but promising, so I re-jiggered a little to have for breakfast the next day, and here's what I came up with:
Smoked Mackerel Cakes
1 quarter-lb tube of saltine crackers
I can Trader Joe's Smoked Mackerel
2 X-lg or Jumbo eggs
2 Tbs mayonnaise (optional)
1 tbs dill pickle relish, drained
1 tsp or so of salt
cayenne to taste
Break up crackers and pound to dust, by hand or in a processor. Set aside.
In a 1-quart bowl, break up mackerel by hand and then render into shreds however you can. I used an old 3-tine cooking fork. Break eggs into bowl and stir to blend. Add mayonnaise if using, relish, salt, and cayenne. Start adding cracker crumbs a handful at a time, stirring to blend each one. When a fairly stiff and workable dough is formed, let sit while you pull out two squares of waxed paper.
Divide fish mixture into six roughly equal balls. Flatten each ball to a size that will take up roughly 1/3 of one side of a waxed-paper square. Lay three patties along one side of each sheet, leaving about 3/4" between each one. Fold the other side of each square over, press down, and fold each third over the next to make a stack of three. Refrigerate at least overnight.
To cook, heat non-smoking oil, such as grapeseed, to frying temperature in skillet that will accommodate as many cakes as you want. Peel off each cake and place in pan over medium-high heat until browned on each side – that the egg is cooked is the only serious concern, since everything else is. Serve with eggs or whatever blows your skirt up.
Okay, now I'd welcome any suggestions for improvements – they're still a little stodgy, though being thinner helps a lot. Perhaps the mixture needs to be mixed less aggressively, and to be more gently gathered and flattened? Any flavor changes you'd want? My mom would have left out the relish and added onion and OF COURSE Worcestershire sauce, and that might be nice too. Waddaya say?
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