My ears always prick up when either of the girls request a dinner, and Willa surprised me recently when she asked for “fishy cakes” over a year after I first tried making them (a seemingly unsuccessful try at the time). I prefer to use salted cod rather than a fresh white fish when making fishcakes—the curing process for the fish brings out a concentrated fish flavor without being too “fishy” (as my mom would say, and contrary to Willa’s name for them). After rehydrating the fish for a few days, the saltiness disappears but that latent umami remains.
Something about the end of summer makes me think of frying foods a little more often. Maybe I need a fix for the fried clams and french fries we eat during those trips to the beach (sadly, very under-represented these past few months). Maybe it’s some sort of reflexive reaction to the impending fall and winter, when eating lighter than beef or pork still requires a little something extra to stick to your ribs.
It’s been a stretch since my last post, due to typical August things: a vacation, family visits, and as much outside time as possible. We’ve also been preparing ourselves mentally and emotionally for Willa & Phoebe’s first day of pre-K in a real live public school. We’re feeling a lot of the feels around here as we hit this big milestone, so before we get too lost in our fall schedule I wanted to share a favorite dinner from our week at the beach.
We ended our 4th of July weekend on a healthy note, after spying some delicious looking Sockeye Salmon on sale at our local market. Sockeye is usually only available through the summer and is a smaller cousin to the more readily available larger Atlantic and Pacific varieties, with a milder flavor and denser flesh. For anyone squeamish about the taste of salmon (hi Mom), try this the next time you see it—you won’t be disappointed.
And now a story of love and woe. First the love: this dish evolved from a Mark Bittman recipe, which we still often make in its unmodified version. We love all things Spanish in our household, especially after my wife and I had our food-tour style honeymoon there through Catalonia and parts of Basque country. While this dish isn’t classically Spanish it has enough elements to it that can transport us back to Spain with just one bite.