I found this recipe in the big Bon Appetit Cookbook and we both loved it. Matt said he now officially prefers fish cakes to crab cakes! Although I love a well-executed crab cake, I have to admit he has a point. These were much meatier than most crab cakes I’ve had, and I really enjoyed the mild fish flavor. I used tilapia because it’s reasonably priced and it always looks good at our fish counter. But any white, flaky fish will do fine. The tartar sauce is simple, just doctoring a store-bought jar. I served some simple asparagus alongside for a pretty healthy meal. Enjoy!
1/2 cup purchased tartar sauce
2 tbs plus 1/2 cup finely chopped scallions
2 tsp plus 1 1/2 tbs chopped fresh thyme
1 tsp drained capers
4 slices good-quality white or wheat bread, torn into pieces
1 celery stalk, cut in large pieces
1 1/4 lbs. tilapia, cut in 2 inch pieces
1 large egg
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
3 tbs olive oil
Lemon wedges, for serving
Stir the tartar sauce, 2 tbs scallions, 2 tsp thyme, and capers in a small bowl to blend. Taste for seasoning and add salt and black pepper if desired.
Place the bread pieces in a food processor. Process until coarse crumbs appear. Transfer to a large bowl. Add celery to food processor and finely chop using on/off turns. Add celery to the bowl with the bread crumbs. Add the fish to the processor. Use the on/off turns to coarsely puree the fish. Add it to the bowl. Also add remaining 1/2 cup scallions, 1 1/2 tbs thyme, egg, salt, and pepper. Mix gently until it all comes together. Form either 4 large patties or up to 12 small patties with your hands.
Heat the olive oil in a NONSTICK skillet over medium heat. Brown fish cakes on one side for about 5 minutes. Flip carefully and cook another 5 minutes, until the bottoms are browned and they are firm to the touch. Remove and serve with lemon wedges and the tartar sauce.