Haddie cakes come but once—or twice—a year.
It’s kind of a French thing.
I have yet to find haddie in any US markets. And if there is, I don’t think I want to know. It wouldn’t be as special, you know? This can comes all the way from New Brunswick, Canada. A treasure brought home by Pepere, along with Oh Henry bars, rounds of fat balogna, and sweet cherry blossoms.
I love you Canada.
I like to picture old French women (and probably their daughters) making a batch of haddie cakes for the “menfolk,” after a long hard day in the fields. Tired, worn out hands rolling the soft, plump white globes into a flaky crumb crust. Frying them in a pan of butter. Enticing the entire family indoors, causing more than just a few tablewide stomach growls.
Maybe I like to picture all of these things, because it’s a little like picturing my own life as a little girl. Sitting eagerly at Memere’s dinner table, watching all of the pots and pans fly wild with buttery sizzles and splats. There always seemed to be a can of haddie sitting in the back of her pantry. It felt like such a lucky day, when she pulled out a can, made a batch of haddie cakes, and threw them into a pan of butter. Dinner at Memere’s.
A lucky day.
Haddie cakes are simple to make and involve an assembly line of sorts. First the patties are made and rounded. Then they’re doused in a coat of bread crumbs.
And then they just sit and wait to be pan fried.
When I make haddy cakes, I go back and forth between using real butter and cooking spray. Really, both methods are delicious, offering you different advantages. The path of using cooking spray produces a cake that tastes much lighter. Like something you could place on top of a bowl of wilted greens. Or something you could eat in a pita sandwich for a light midday meal.
The butter method is obviously heavier. Heartier. Something you would put on the center of your plate, and call it your meal. Just as is.
Tonight I went with the lighter version…
…because I wanted to serve them with coleslaw.
Just so you know, this is not your typical coleslaw. It contains more yogurt than mayonnaise, which scared me just a bit. But with some tweaking (and chilling!) I was pleasantly surprised. Unfortunately, this recipe is from Moosewood Cookbook, and I can’t share the details. But I can tell you that I’m working on my own version of coleslaw, which—of course—I will share with you once it’s ready.
Haddie is just a mixture of different types of fish. Haddock, cold, or pollock. You could easily substitute your favorite fish, either canned or fresh, if haddie is not available in your grocery store.
This is a tried and true, very—very—simple recipe that I will always treasure. I hope you enjoy!
- 1 can of chicken haddie (14 oz.) or other favorite fish
- 4 cups prepared mashed potatoes
- 1 beaten egg
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- salt and pepper to taste
- fine bread crumbs (I make my own with whole wheat bread)
- cooking spray or butter
- Mix together: haddie, potatoes, egg, onion powder, salt and pepper until combined. Coat with bread crumbs and “fry” on sprayed or lightly buttered nonstick pan over medium heat until golden brown. Flip once and continue cooking until heated thorough.
- Serve as is, or in a whole wheat pita with lettuce and tomato, over a salad, with coleslaw, et cetera.
Question: Do you enjoy any “cultural” meals?