Thursday, September 16, 2010

Fish for breakfast

Kippers for breakfast?
Cheap Trick sang about breakfast fish on "Breakfast in America":
Could we have kippers for breakfast
Mummy dear, mummy dear?

So what did the teenagers in our group order for breakfast while we were hiking through England a few years ago? Kippers. And how did they like them? Not.

Fish is a hard sell for breakfast in America, except maybe in Hawaii. (When you're surrounded by fish, it always tastes good.) But when we stayed in Helsinki, the breakfast buffet included several kinds of fish, and all very tasty. Certainly a lot more appetizing than the Russian fried eggs we had been eating for the past couple of weeks by then; the typical Russian way of fixing a fried egg is to put it in a tiny hot skillet with butter or grease, then serve it before the white even has time to congeal. So you had a crusty bottom that was hard to cut even with a knife, and a runny, jiggly top. No wonder keffir is a popular breakfast drink there; the Lactobacillus probably keeps them from getting sick from the raw egg.

But fish is good for you, and to cut it out of your diet for what mom called the most important meal of the day is just foolish. Some traditions aren't worth standing on.

So if you're up for a little adventure, try these salt cod fritters. Salt cod, unfortunately, is sold by the pound, and is quite dear unless you figure that you actually are getting two pounds of fish for your money, since the salt removes the water weight from the cod. The good news is that salt cod keeps indefinitely in your refrigerator, awaiting an overnight soak (and several changes of water if you want to remove all the salt).

Lori K's salt-cod fritters
Serves 2
Salt cod fritters

1/4 pound salt cod
1 small shallot or two scallions
1/4 cup flour
Dash cayenne pepper
1 egg
1/2 large ripe avocado
Juice of 1/2 lemon or lime
1 tablespoon water
Salt and pepper to taste

Soak the cod overnight. When you awake, drain it, slice it into thin strips, put it back in the bowl and cover with hot water.
Mince the shallot or scallion (using the crisp green part is OK).
Heat about an inch of oil in a cast-iron pot (a deep one will reduce splattering) until hot but not smoking over medium heat. Sprinkle flour with the cayenne pepper in a small deep bowl. In another small bowl, beat the egg well. Drain the cod strips and wring out the water, then mince. Mix the flour and the egg, fold in the cod and shallot or scallion. Drop by tablespoons into the hot oil, making sure they don't touch. When brown on one side, flip them over, cook for a few minutes, then drain.
While they're cooking, make the sauce:
Mash the avocado, add the citrus juice, then enough water to make it smooth, and season.
Serve over the fritters. Eat them while they're hot!

1 comment:

  1. This was extraordinarily amazingly wonderfully good!!!!