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Mediterranean Fish Cakes

(recipe, Zena Chew)


This recipe is Hannah Cordes' adaptation of a Bon Appétit recipe. For more about Passover cooking, read "Mighty matzo."


    Aïoli sauce (see Note)
    1. 1½ cups mayonnaise
    2. ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
    3. 6 large garlic cloves, minced
    4. 1½ Tbsp. tomato paste
    5. 1½ tsp. hot smoked Spanish paprika, or 1¼ teaspoons Hungarian sweet paprika and ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
    6. Salt and pepper, to taste
    Fish cakes
    1. 2 lb. mild white fish fillets (such as orange roughy or halibut), cut into ½-inch cubes
    2. 1 cup finely chopped leeks
    3. 6 garlic cloves, chopped
    4. 6 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
    5. 3 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
    6. 1 Tbsp. ground cumin
    7. 2 tsp. coarse kosher salt
    8. 1 tsp. ground ginger
    9. ¾ tsp. ground black pepper
    10. ¼ tsp. ground cayenne pepper
    11. ⅓ cup matzo meal
    12. 1 large egg
    13. ¾ cup olive oil (for frying)


    1. Combine all the sauce ingredients in a small bowl; whisk to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (The sauce can be made a day ahead of time and kept, covered, in the refrigerator.)
    2. Coarsely grind the fish in a food processor. Add the leeks, garlic, parsley, cilantro, cumin, salt, ginger, black pepper, and cayenne pepper; blend well. Add the matzo meal and egg; process until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally.
    3. Line a large baking sheet with plastic wrap. With moistened hands and using 1 generous tablespoon for each cake, shape mixture into patties about 2 inches in diameter and ½-inch thick. Arrange the patties on the sheet, then chill for about 20 minutes before frying.
    4. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Fry fish cakes in batches until brown and cooked through, adding more oil to skillet by tablespoonfuls as needed, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer cakes to an unlined baking sheet. (The cakes can also be made a day in advance; refrigerate until cold, then cover with foil and keep refrigerated. Rewarm, uncovered, in a 350-degree oven for about 10 minutes.)
    5. Arrange warm fish cakes on plates. Spoon aïoli alongside and serve.


    If you're short on ingredients or in a hurry, make a sauce out of just the mayo and the paprika.