Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Pan Fried Wahoo Cake with Potato Shingles, Dijon Crème, Capers and Scallion Threads

     Wahoo is the biggest member of the mackerel family of fish and Wahoo are the fastest fish in the ocean.  A Wahoo can literally smoke a fishing reel when they run the line out after being hooked!  After setting the hook, all that most fishermen can say is "Wahoo!"
     The texture of Wahoo is like swordfish, but the flavor is much lighter.  Fresh Wahoo is best for cutting into steaks.  A chargrilled Wahoo Steak with a nice sauce is hard to beat.   
     Either fresh Wahoo scraps or canned Wahoo are good for making fish cakes.  Canned Wahoo looks like light colored canned albacore tuna, but it has a much cleaner flavor than canned tuna.  Canned Wahoo easily flakes, so it is perfect for making a mayonnaise salad or fish cakes.
     Today's recipe is for a simple east coast style fish cake that is bound with mayonnaise.  The trick is to only add enough mayonnaise to barely bind the ingredients together.  Too much mayonnaise will result in a fish cake that looks like a pile of sloppy mush!
     As always, it is best to check the sustainability status of any seafood species before making a purchase.  This includes canned seafood.  Currently, a few fisheries offer Wahoo in sustainable numbers, but not all.  Try to select Wahoo from an Atlantic or Pacific fishery that is well managed, so guilt free seafood dining can take place.

     Wahoo Cake Preparation:
     This recipe yields 1 portion.
     Step 1:  Drain the water off of 6 ounces of canned wahoo or poached fresh wahoo.  
     Place the wahoo in a mixing bowl.
     Flake the wahoo meat into small pieces.
     Step 2:  Add 1/2 tablespoon of minced green bell pepper.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of minced celery.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of minced onion.
     Add 1 tablespoon of plain fine bread crumbs.
     Add 1 small pinch of oregano.
     Add 1 small pinch of cayenne pepper.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and black pepper.
     Step 3:  Add just enough mayonnaise while mixing, to bind the ingredients together.  (About 1 tablespoon to 1 1/2 tablespoons.  The mixture should be able to hold its own shape when squeezed.)
     Step 4:  Form the wahoo mixture into a patty shape that is about 3/4" thick.
     Step 5:  Place 1 cup of breadcrumbs in a separate mixing bowl.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and black pepper.
     Add 1 pinch of oregano.
     Stir the breadcrumb mixture.  
     Step 6:  Dredge the wahoo patty in the seasoned breadcrumbs.
     Gently press the breadcrumbs onto the surface of the fish cake.  
     Chill the Wahoo Cake till it is needed.

     Scallion Threads:
     This recipe yields 1 petite garnish portion.
     Real scallions are rarely available in food markets these days.  Small scallions have a bolder flavor than green onions.  If no scallions are available, then use green onions.
     Step 1:  Cut the white part of 3 scallions (or 1 green onion) into very thin julienne strips.
     Step 2:  Heat a small sauté pan over medium low heat.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
     Add the scallion strips.
     Pan fry the scallion strips till they just start to caramelize and become crisp.
     Remove the roasted scallion strips from the pan and set them aside on a platter. 

     Dijon Crème Sauce:
     This recipe yields about 1/3 cup.  (2 portions)
     Only a small amount of sauce is needed per fish cake.  
     Step 1:  Heat a small sauce pot over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1 teaspoon of unsalted butter.
     Add an equal amount of flour while constantly stirring to make a roux.
     Stir till roux foams and becomes a white color.
     Step 2:  Add 1/2 cup of milk while whisking.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of Dijon Mustard.
     Add sea salt and white pepper to taste.
     Bring the sauce to a gentle simmer.  Whisk the sauce as heats.
     Step 3:  Reduce the temperature to very low heat. 
     Gently simmer and reduce the sauce, till it becomes a medium thin consistency that can coat a spoon.
     Step 4:  Pour the sauce into a ceramic cup.
     Keep the sauce warm on a stove top or in a 135ºF bain marie.

     Potato Shingles:
     This recipe yields 1 portion.
     The potato shingles will be used as a bed for the Wahoo Cake.
     Step 1:  Heat a non-stick sauté pan over medium heat.
     Add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil.
     Add 1/2 cup of very thin sliced peeled russet potato.  (Cut the potato in half lengthwise before slicing.)
     Lightly season with sea salt.
     Sauté the potato slices till they are golden brown.
     Step 2:  Place the potato shingles on a platter and keep them warm on a stove top. 

     Pan Fried Wahoo Cake with Potato Shingles, Dijon Crème, Capers and Roasted Scallions:
     This recipe yields 1 entrée.
     Step 1:  Heat a small sauté pan or cast iron skillet over medium heat.
     Add enough vegetable oil, so the oil is about 3/8" deep.
     Adjust the temperature, so the oil is 350ºF.
     Step 2:  Place the Wahoo Cake in the hot oil.
     Pan fry the wahoo patty till it is golden brown on both sides.  (Flipping the fish cake twice will prevent excess browning.)
     Step 3:  Remove the pan from the heat.
     Set the Wahoo Cake on a wire screen roasting rack over a drip pan to drain off any excess oil.
     Keep the Wahoo Cake warm on a stove top.
     Step 4:  Place the Potato Shingles on the center of a plate as a bed for the Wahoo Cake.
     Place the Wahoo Cake on the potatoes.
     Step 5:  Pour about 2 1/2 tablespoons of the Dijon Crème Sauce over one half of the Wahoo Cake.
     Dust the Dijon Crème Sauce with 1 pinch of Spanish Paprika.
     Step 6:  Place the Scallion Threads on the Dijon Crème on top of the Wahoo Cake.
     Sprinkle 6 rinsed large capers on the Dijon Crème. 
     Garnish the Wahoo Cake with 2 cilantro leaves.
     Garnish the plate with a sprinkle of very thin bias sliced green onion top.

     This is an elegant fish cake presentation that features one of the best tasting game fish in the sea.  Wahoo!  

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