If you’re single, and dinner usually consists of whatever you can find in the fridge (eaten while leaning against the sink), it’s time for a change.
In a world of immense poverty of both food and of spirit, a meal should be a celebration of the blessings of life. You should always treat yourself and your body well.
In The Pleasures of Cooking for One, a cookbook that celebrates the joys of cooking in small quantities, Judith Jones provides recipes for fabulous meals, with variations for “second and third rounds”—Jones’ clever term for leftovers.
This recipe for Baked Bass with Fingerling Potatoes includes a “second round” in the form of delicious Fish Cakes. Celebrate yourself!
Baked Bass with Fingerling Potatoes
You’re bound to have leftover fish. Save about 3/4 cup to make fish cakes later in the week.
- 1 whole bass (black, sea or striped),
- 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 3 or 4 fingerling potatoes (5 ounces)
- 1 small zucchini (about 5 ounces)
- 4 oz red bell pepper, washed and cut into 1 inch squares
- 4 oz yellow bell pepper, washed and cut into 1 inch squares
- Freshly ground pepper
- 2 scallions, chopped
- 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus a few whole sprigs (optional)
- 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh tarragon or dill
- Juice of 1 lemon
Preheat oven to 400° F. Rinse and dry fish, and rub salt (about 3/8 teaspoon) and half of olive oil over it.
Peel fingerlings; cut lengthwise into quarters. Cut zucchini in half lengthwise, then into 1-1/2-inch pieces. Toss potatoes, zucchini and peppers in remaining oil and season lightly with salt and pepper (about 1/8 teaspoon of each). Spread vegetables in the bottom of a baking dish large enough to hold bass.
Fill cavity of fish with scallions and chopped herbs. Lay fish on top of vegetables and sprinkle with lemon juice and a little salt. Add sprigs of herbs (if using); bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until flesh is opaque. Transfer whole fish with vegetables to a plate.
Second Round: Fish Cakes
If you want the outside of your fish cakes to be very crusty, brush them with beaten egg and dredge them in about 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs. These light breadcrumbs give the fish cakes a wonderful, crispy finish. If desired, you may also vary the seasoning: Add fresh dill, tarragon or chives, in addition to the scallions and ginger, to the fish mixture.
- 3/4 cup flaked cooked fish (see Baked Bass with Fingerling Potatoes recipe above)
- 3/4 cup mashed cooked potatoes
- 1 or 2 small scallions, including tender green part, finely chopped (about 2 Tbsp.)
- 1/4 tsp. grated fresh ginger, plus more to taste
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Light olive oil, for frying
- Lemon wedges, for serving (optional)
In a medium bowl, mix fish and potatoes with a fork. If the fish has been fried, scrape away the crusty exterior before flaking because you want the cakes to be smooth inside. Mix in ginger with about 1/8 teaspoon salt and a pinch of pepper, combining ingredients with fork. If desired, add more of each to taste.
Form the mixture into two round patties about 3-1/2 inches in diameter. Heat butter and/or oil (using a mixture of both will help prevent the butter from burning) in a medium skillet over medium heat; when sizzling, lay fish cakes in skillet. Cook 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Serve with lemon wedges (if using) on the side.
Angela Shelf Medearis is an award-winning children’s author, culinary historian and the author of seven cookbooks. Her new cookbook is “The Kitchen Diva’s Diabetic Cookbook.”