oh haddy cakes

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 Cakes

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
  1. 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.
  2. Serve as is, or in a whole wheat pita with lettuce and tomato, over a salad, with coleslaw, et cetera.
  3. Enjoy! 😀

Question: Do you enjoy any “cultural” meals? 

16 thoughts on “oh haddy cakes

  1. I love reading your family traditions. I love thinking about traditions that are carried through the years and always bring back memories!
    We don’t have a ton of family traditions regarding meals in our families…but I’d say pierogies and kielbasa with my mom’s bread that I don’t remember the name of is traditional for easter. Of course, we now use boxed pierogies so take that for what it’s worth 😛

  2. Thanks, Canada loves you too 🙂

    Even so, I have no idea what ‘haddie’ is. Haddock? Perhaps it’s a maritime thing? Regardless, the look and sound absolutely delicious!

    My favourite cultural meals are all European. Crepes. Roasts. Rouladen and Sausage…

  3. Canada loves you too! It’s funny that you say that, because I am often crossing the border to go grocery shopping in the States. There is WAY cooler food to be found down there. And your butter!! It is so cheap…and so cute with the little measurements on the wrappers. I’m lucky enough to live an hour north of the nearest crossing…my bank account doesn’t think it’s a lucky thing though…I can only afford to get my fix once a month 🙂 Jenn

  4. You can buy Chicken Haddie at most ‘fish markets’. In Winnipeg, Manitoba Gimli Fish on Donald St sells it…also Finnan Haddie but they only sell that around Christmas holidays.
    I asked the clerk where they get their supply and he replies…somewhere from the USA. It’s canned in Newfoundland…go figure.
    I am originally from New Brunswick and we grew up on Chicken Haddie cakes. I have a can in my pantry so maybe this weekend I will make them. I sent my sister in Toronto two cans, it cost more to send them than they actually cost….but she is worth it!

    • Well since my name is Louis BABINEAU (no relation) i thought i would try to make some fish cake like pepere & memere use to make. I will bake a few and freeze them up for the the camp and the HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA game! By doing this i might forget that i missed half of the hockey season! A proud CANADIAN and MARITIMER to

    • Sold at superstore sin Saint John New Brunswick, $7.50 for a good size can. So probably sold at most loblaw stores.

  5. My old buddie, ,s from Rogersville ,N.B. he,s 85 years and was so happy to get a feed of these..
    They are truly a Eastern Canadian Thing..Enjoy and Merci….

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