Editor’s note: The “captain’s table/lodge’s chef” series of articles will share game cooking advice and recipes from folks who seek or cook wild game as part of their daily professional lives—including charter captains, outfitters, chefs, and celebrities.
Lemony fish cakes with Caribbean coconut slaw
This week we travel to New England and the kitchen of the Wild Cheff Denny Corriveau. Denny is the founder of the Free Range Culinary Institute, the only national wild-game-cooking school in the United States. He’s also the creator of the Wild Cheff line of preservative-free cooking products.
“The practice of cooking and eating game fish is just one more way to practice sustainability and embrace the outdoor experience,” Denny said. “The key is learning the right cooking methodologies that allow you to best enjoy the taste of the game and your creative cooking ideas.”
Denny knows most outdoorsmen and women don’t hesitate to pull out a cast iron pan to cook up the fresh catch of the day. The beauty of cast iron is its versatility in the kitchen, on the grill or over the campfire. So, whether you’re fresh or saltwater fishing, Denny’s method of poaching white fish into cakes is easy and palate pleasing.
This recipe for lemony fish cakes with Caribbean coconut slaw features bass but can easily translate to freshwater or saltwater species local to you or currently biting. Depending on where you live, bass may be highly sought or undervalued. Regardless, bass is an excellent choice for fish cakes.
Denny uses a poaching method for the fishcakes to add moisture and lighten the flavor of the fish. In preparation, filet the fish and remove the skin and any in bones prior to poaching. Poaching only takes 3 to 5 minutes on average, depending on the thickness of fish filets.
“This tasty recipe is versatile and lends itself well to fresh and saltwater fish,” Denny said. “Light and fulfilling, it’s a great choice for this time of year, before the rustic flavors of fall come fully into play. Enjoy with a glass of white wine, artisan beer, flavored martini or lemonade.”
This recipe makes approximately six cakes.
- 1 pound white fish filets, skin and bones removed
- 4 cups filtered or distilled water
- 1 cup of white wine (Riesling)
- 1 tablespoon Wild Cheff Tuscan Blend Seasoning
- 2 tablespoons Cain’s mayonnaise (or other BHT preservative-free mayo)
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 farm fresh (brown) egg
- 1/2 to 1 tablespoon Wild Cheff Lemon Lover’s Blend Seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon Wild Cheff Herb Lover’s Blend Seasoning
- 1 teaspoon Wild Cheff Cajun Blend Seasoning
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 2 teaspoons Wild Cheff Lemon Olive Oil
- 1/4-cup Panko bread crumbs (use more if needed)
Heat water, wine, and Tuscan herbs in a large skillet. Bring broth to a boil then back off to a no-boil (but hot) simmer.
Slowly add fish to broth. Fish will turn opaque within 1 to 2 minutes. When it does, remove fish from water, allow to drain through slotted spoon or spatula, and place into bowl. Continue until all fish is poached.
Lightly cover the bowl of fish and chill for 30 to 40 minutes until cooled.
Gently flake fish into a large clean bowl. Flake fish into larger pieces rather than shred. This results in a full-bodied cake.
Add mayo, mustard, Wild Cheff Seasonings, egg, Wild Cheff Lemon Olive Oil, lemon juice, and Panko to the fish.
Form cakes by hand, or use a round dough cutter (3-1/2 to 4 inches diameter). Place cutter onto a plate/sheet pan lined with wax paper. Create cakes by filling the cutter, gently pressing down on the mixture and removing cutter (or gently form by hand to desired shape and thickness). Make sure cakes are uniform in size and thickness.
Cover plate or sheet pan loosely with plastic wrap, and place into refrigerator/ice chest for 15 minutes to again stiffen cakes.
Heat a large, flat, cast iron pan over medium high heat, and brush with butter or oil. Place cakes into hot pan and cook on both sides until browned.
Remove from pan and serve with coconut coleslaw and lemon horseradish sauce.
- 1 bag (12 to 14 ounces) freshly made or packaged slaw
- 1 tablespoon Wild Cheff Lime Olive Oil
- 1 teaspoon Wild Cheff Vanilla Sea Salt
- 1/2-teaspoon Wild Cheff Chef’s Grind Black Pepper
- 1/2-bottle Cole’s Farm Cole Slaw Dressing (from Gray, Maine)
- 1 to 2 tablespoons Wild Cheff Coconut Balsamic Vinegar
- 1 cup sweetened coconut
Toss ingredients and refrigerate for 20 to 30 minutes. Re-toss prior to serving.
Lemon horseradish sauce
- 1 container (4 ounces) of plain yogurt
- Juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
- 1/2-tablespoon of fresh-grated horseradish
Mix all ingredients together thoroughly. Serve in a side dish or place a dollop on each fish cake.
Images courtesy Denny Corriveau