The recipe that I’m sharing with you today was created for the CFE International “Saltfish Blogger Recipe Challenge.” I don’t cook fish/seafood very often (when I do, I tend to stick with what I’m comfortable with — tuna, salmon, and shrimp), so this challenge definitely took me out of my “comfort zone.” CFE International provided me with several bags of their BacalaRico Salted Pollock fillets, and after much deliberation, I decided to make a somewhat Asian-inspired dish that would be perfect as a plated appetizer (or add a side salad, and you’ve got yourself a full meal!).
Before beginning the recipe, it’s necessary to prep the salted fish fillets by soaking them in water (in the refrigerator) for at least eight hours, changing the water three times during that period. The fish is completely coated with salt when you first remove it from the package, and the soaking process removes the excess; even after a proper soaking, the fish still has a high salt content, which is why I haven’t added additional salt to any portion of the recipe.
BacalaRico Pollock Cakes with Raw Carrot Salad and Yellow Pepper Coulis
serves four, as an appetizer
For the Raw Carrot Salad:
1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into chunks
2 tsp yuzu hot sauce
3/4″ piece of fresh ginger, peeled and cut into chunks
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
8 cilantro leaves
2 tsp lime juice
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until carrots are finely chopped. Stir the mixture with a spatula to ensure that all ingredients are thoroughly combined.
For the Yellow Pepper Coulis:
1 yellow bell pepper, stem and seeds removed, cut into chunks
pinch of freshly-cracked black pepper
Place the bell pepper chunks in a small saucepan, and add just enough water to cover the peppers. Bring to a boil and simmer for 6-8 minutes, until peppers are soft. Remove from heat and pour off most of the water, leaving about two tablespoons of water in the pan. Puree with an immersion blender (or food processor) until no chunks of pepper remain.
For the Pollock Cakes:
12 oz package of BacalaRico Boneless Salted Pollock Fillets, prepared according to instructions above / on package
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp freshly-cracked black pepper
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup diced bell pepper (I used red, orange, and yellow)
1/2 cup diced white or yellow onion
1 Tbsp minced fresh garlic
1/4 tsp freshly-cracked black pepper
2/3 cup good-quality mayonnaise
1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/4 tsp fish sauce
1/4 tsp sesame oil
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
3 Tbsp canola oil
4 sprigs of cilantro, for garnish
black and white sesame seeds, for garnish
Begin by cooking the prepared pollock fillets in 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat until just cooked through, about three minutes per side (do this in batches so that you do not overcrowd the pan). Remove from pan and allow to cool.
Heat 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat and add the bell peppers and onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, for approximately five minutes; add the garlic and black pepper and cook for an additional minute or two. Set aside to cool.
While the fish and pepper/onion mixture are cooling, prepare the raw carrot salad and yellow pepper coulis; set aside until ready to plate the dish.
Once the fish has cooled completely, use a fork or your hands to flake it apart into small chunks. Combine fish with the cooled pepper/onion mixture in a mixing bowl, and add the remaining ingredients. After thoroughly mixing, divide into four portions and form patties that are approximately 3/4″ thick and 2 1/2″ diameter.
Coat patties with the additional panko bread crumbs, then heat the three tablespoons of canola oil in a sauté pan and cook the patties for one to two minutes per side, until crispy and golden brown. Remove patties from pan and place on paper towels to drain any excess oil.
Divide the yellow pepper coulis between four separate bowls or plates, and top with the raw carrot salad (I used a small round cookie cutter to form the raw carrot salad, but feel free to just spoon it on top of the yellow pepper coulis). Place one pollock cake on top of the carrot salad in each dish, and garnish with a sprig of cilantro and a sprinkle of black and white sesame seeds. If desired, add a drizzle of sriracha mayo (1 Tbsp mayonnaise combined with 1 tsp sriracha). Serve immediately, and enjoy!
For more information on BacalaRico Salted Pollock Fillets and other products distributed by CFE International, check them out on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram! These products can be found at the following retailers: Costco, Empire Supermarkets, Food Bazaar, Hannaford Bros., H Mart, Jetro, Key Foods, Price Chopper, Price Rite, Stop&Shop, ShopRite, Trade Fair Supermarkets, Western Beef.