06 September 2012

Baby Bites: Baked Fish Cakes

Getting her fingers into the fish cake.

Baby Nerd approves!

Original recipe from 500 Baby & Toddler Dishes (Glock,  2011).

Fish. It’s something I NEVER eat. Growing up, my parents and brother ate anything and everything that could be caught on a fishing rod or in a crab net. My husband considers all forms of seafood a treat. Me? I’d rather eat a bowl of Brussels sprouts. What makes me turn up my nose to marine munchies? The taste. The texture. The…smell…ugh… I’m just not a fan. And if the hubs does get a craving for seafood, we either go out to eat or he has to cook it on his own. I know seafood cooks much faster than steak or chicken, and that’s about where my culinary expertise in this food genre ends.

But with all of that said, no child of mine is going to be the weirdo I am about seafood consumption.

One of my favorite baby food cookbooks is 500 Baby & Toddler Dishes by Beverly Glock. Not only does it contain a wide variety of food options for your youngster, it also offers variations on every recipe to fit every child’s preferences. Even with these variation suggestions, I still adjusted the recipe to fit what we had in our house and garden.

[And by the way, did anyone notice the 4 cups of milk as an ingredient?!?! The reason they include this as an ingredient is to cook the filets in it for easier flaking and removal from the bone. Their recipe suggests that you substitute formula or breast milk if your child is under 12 months. But think about it: formula is waaaaay too expensive (at least, in my book) for any use other than bottle feeding, and I don’t know a single breastfeeding mother who would sacrifice 4 cups of her supply for what is essentially boiling fish. You’ll notice in my adjustment there is NO milk as an ingredient. It’s lame and unnecessary. Just bake the fish on a sheet of parchment on a cookie sheet.]

  • ·      2 medium-sized russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • ·      2 small or medium-sized whitefish filets, boneless and skinless (I used thawed tilapia from the Publix frozen seafood department)
  • ·      2 thin slices of REAL unsalted butter
  • ·      small bunch of fresh chives, washed and finely chopped (we grow these behind our house)
  • ·      4 eggs, beaten
  • ·      1 cup breadcrumbs
  • ·      1 tbsp dried parsley
  • ·      large pinch of paprika
  • ·      large pinch of ground sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place your boneless, skinless fish filets on parchment on a cookie sheet and bake 10-20 minutes or until cooked through. While the fish is baking, boil the potato chunks in lightly salted water in a deep pot until they are soft enough to mash. Drain and pour the chunks into a mixing bowl. Toss in the chopped chives and use a potato masher to smooth the potatoes and work out all the large lumps.

Remove fish from the oven and allow to cool to a temperature you can handle with your fingers. As the fish cools, mix the breadcrumbs with the parsley, paprika, and salt and spread out on a plate for dredging your cakes later. Transfer the cooked fish to a cutting board and flake with a fork. Add fish and half of the beaten eggs to the potatoes and chives. Mix thoroughly and bump up the heat in your oven to 400 degrees.

Make patties with the fish and potato mixture by scooping out a spoonful at a time, rolling it into a ball, and slightly flattening it. Dip each patty into the eggs that are left and lightly dredge each side in the herbed breadcrumbs. Place each breaded patty on a new sheet of parchment on a cookie sheet (I used the same one I baked the fish on earlier to save on dishes). Bake roughly 15 minutes or until cooked through and golden brown.

The recipe says it makes just over a dozen patties, but it made 21 patties when I made it! The fridge and freezer directions should be the same as given in the original recipe.

Baby Nerd ate her fish cakes straight up, but I can see them being served with a little ketchup or a homemade tartar sauce. And if your baby likes the sour taste of lemon, squirt the cakes with fresh lemon juice! The herbs in your breading can be adjusted to what your baby likes. Baby Nerd has tried many herbs and spices, so I went with ones that would both compliment the fish and tickle her tastebuds: smoky paprika and mild parsley. I can also see dried oregano, ground pepper, or cumin making the breading tasty, too.

Finally, don't fry these fish cakes. The point of cooking for your baby is to provide him or her with healthy options, and baking these will cut out excess fat and grease. They come out crispy and easy to break apart by hand. It's a fun food for little fingers. 

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