Tag Archives: parsnip

Newfoundland Cod Fish Cakes

24 Apr

Last fall, my aunt packed up her belongings and trekked out to Newfoundland to take up a one-year teaching position at Memorial University.  She recently returned home, but the holidays were the first time I’d seen her since she moved out east.  Always an incredibly thoughtful and generous person, she brought back little pieces of Newfoundland for each of her family members.

Stunning Newfoundland photo #1, courtesy of my Aunt

Stunning Newfoundland photo #1, courtesy of my aunt

Stunning Newfoundland photo #2, courtesy of my Aunt

Stunning Newfoundland photo #2, courtesy of my aunt

My gift—surprise, surprise! – revolved around cooking.  My aunt knows me well. I received two recipe books featuring Newfie and Atlantic cuisine along with savory, an herb commonly used in Atlantic cooking.  The first word that came to my mind while flipping through the cookbooks was ‘comfort.’  Lots of stews, casseroles, and baked goods.  Amongst the homey, high-calorie, or downright bizarre recipes (Caribou Ringalls, anyone?), a picture of cod cakes caught my eye.


The recipe naturally called for salt cod, but a variation using fresh or frozen fish was listed.  The cakes were easy to prepare: poach fish fillets in salted water, flake, and add to a mash of potatoes, parsnip, onion, and egg.  The batter was on the soft side, so a delicate hand was needed when flipping the cakes within the fry pan. The end result was a cake with a mashed potato texture and just a hint of fish flavour.  A great dish for those who want to eat more fish but dislike the taste or texture.

These cod cakes take care of both your protein and starch, so all you need is a couple of colourful vegetables or a salad for a complete meal.  We paired ours with Brussels sprouts and beets, but the options are limitless.


Fish Cakes
(from Traditional Recipes of Atlantic Canada)

1 pound cod or haddock fillets*
2 small onions, chopped
6-8 potatoes, cooked and mashed (3 cups)
2-3 parsnips, cooked
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
½ tsp to 1 tablespoon savory (or parsley, or sage)
1 egg, well beaten
¼ cup flour (or 1 cup fine breadcrumbs)

  1. Poach fish in 1 cup salted, simmering water for 5 to 10 minutes. Drain well and flake into small pieces.
  2. Cook onions in ¼ cup water, covered, until tender and soft. Remove lid and set aside.
  3. Mash together fish, potatoes, parsnips, and butter.  Add onions and water in which they were cooked. Season with savory, salt and pepper to taste. Add beaten egg and mix well. Chill until cool and firm.
  4. Form into 3-inch round patties and coat lightly with flour (or fine breadcrumbs).
  5. Coat a non-stick pan with cooking spray and set over medium-high heat.  Fry fish cakes 3 minutes on each side, turning once, until crisp and golden.

*If you have access to salt cod, substitute poached fresh or frozen cod for 1 pound salt cod. Cover with cold water overnight for 6-8 hours, simmer in fresh water for 5-10 minutes, then drain, remove bones, and flake the fish.

Makes 6 fish cakes. Per cake: 300 kcal, 47 g CHO, 5 g fibre, 4 g fat (0.3 g saturated), 19 g protein

Autumn Root Vegetable Mash

19 Sep

Autumn is in the air.  Although it’s still officially summer, the days are getting cooler and I no longer live a life of leisure (tear!).  While I’m sad to part with the joys of summer, there’s a certain je ne sais quoi about Autumn that I love.  New beginnings, leaves changing colours, warm vests, Thanksgiving.  And the food!  Pumpkin, squash, apples, root vegetables…  the list goes on.

To pay homage to the beginnings of autumn, I thought I would stray from my typical dinnertime starches (rice, quinoa, pasta) and make a root vegetable mash.  The trio of potatoes, sweet potatoes, and parsnips alone would have been tasty but the recipe called for the addition of roasted garlic cloves and caramelized onions.  You can never go wrong with a combination like that.

Root Vegetables: Sweet Potato, Parsnip, Potato

Preparing this dish required a bit more effort than ordinary mashed potatoes but it helped dress up an otherwise simple meal of steamed broccoli and Cajun salmon (more on that another day).  As a bonus, the dish can be made in advance and re-heated gently on the stovetop just before serving.  I’d say the results were well worth the effort!

Mashed Root Vegetables with Roasted Garlic


Mashed Root Vegetables with Roasted Garlic  (adapted from Rose Reisman’s Family Favorites)

8 cloves garlic, unpeeled
3 cups peeled and cubed potatoes
1-1/2 cups peeled and cubed sweet potatoes
1-1/2 cups peeled and cubed parsnips
2 tsp vegetable oil
2 cups finely chopped Vidalia onion (about half of a large onion)
1-1/2 tsp brown sugar
2 tsp finely chopped garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
freshly chopped parsley (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Individually wrap the garlic cloves in foil, place on a baking sheet, and bake for about 15 minutes or until tender.  Allow to cool, remove the skin and set aside.
  2. Place the potatoes, sweet potatoes, and parsnips in 3 separate large pots with enough cold water to cover them.  Bring the water to a boil over high heat and boil the potatoes for 10 to 15 minutes or until tender, the sweet potatoes for 10 minutes or until tender, and the parsnips for 20 minutes or until tender.  Drain and place in 1 large pot, cover and set aside.  Alternatively, if you have time you can cook in batches using one pot, e.g. first cook potatoes then drain and set aside, next cook sweet potatoes, etc.  This saves on dishwashing!
  3. Meanwhile, lightly coat a large skillet with cooking spray, add the oil, and set over medium-low heat.  Add the onion and saute for 10 minutes or until softened and browned.  Reduce the heat to low, add the brown sugar and garlic, and continue cooking for 5 minutes.
  4. Partially mash the potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips, and roasted garlic using a potato masher.  Add the sauteed onion, olive oil, and salt and pepper.  Garnish with parsley (optional) and serve immediately.  Can be prepared up to one day in advance.  Reheat gently on the stove until warm.

Makes 4 generous servings.  Per serving: 240 kcal, 6.5 g fat, 5.1 g fibre, 100 mg sodium