Recipe: Codfish balls


by Frank Davis

Posted on March 15, 2010 at 7:12 PM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 16 at 6:04 PM

2 large Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into squares
1 lb. frozen codfish fillets, thawed and cut into 1-1/2 inch squares
2 Tbsps. unsalted butter
2 Tbsps. grated onion
2 cups French breadcrumbs
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
6 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 heaping teaspoon kosher or sea salt
¾ teaspoons freshly coarse ground black pepper
2 whole eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups buttered Panko breadcrumbs
Olive oil and butter mixture for frying


First take a large pot of lightly salted boiling water and poach the potatoes until they become “almost” fork tender - don’t overcook them though or they will turn mushy when you fashion them into patties.

Next, 10 minutes before the potatoes are done, drop into the potato-poaching water the codfish and cook the chunks until the meat begins to flake easily with a table fork.  Again. do not overcook.

 Then when the potatoes and fish are done, transfer them to a large colander to drain for a while.  But before they cool off too much, put them back into the empty boiling pot, drop in the next 9 ingredients, and blend everything together uniformly,  
Now when you’re ready to start frying, with your wet hands take small round golf ball-size portions out of the pot (which is probably how your old MawMaw came up with the age old N’Awlins name “codfish balls’), flatten them out into patties about 3-4 inches in diameter, and set them aside momentarily on a shallow pan lined with parchment paper. 

When all of the mixture has been used and all of the patties have been formed, take some Panko-style crumbs, sprinkle them lightly over the patties, pat them in gently to form an outer crust, and let them “rest” for about 15 minutes on the countertop to “cure.”

All that’s left now is to take a shallow-sided, 12-inch, non-stick skillet, pour a scant amount of the olive oil/butter mixture into the pan, place it on the stovetop over medium-high heat, slide the patties into the pan using two egg turners so as not to break them apart, and pan-sauté them a few at a time until they turn a rich, golden, toasty brown on both sides.

While you make the codfish sauce, simply set the platter of patties into a warming oven at 200 degrees.

Mary Clare’s Creamed Green Peas Sauce

Yes, you could serve the patties as is and they’d taste absolutely great.  But Mary Clare insists that the best way to serve them is  laced with her special Creamed Green Peas Sauce. Eat them as an entrée with the sauce alongside some cold sliced tomatoes, or on a toasty bun with mayo, cream sauce, lettuce and tomatoes.

½ stick unsalted butter
1 small minced onion
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 cup reserved green pea juice
1 cup heavy cream, room temperature
1 can early young tiny peas, drained but liquid reserved
1 cup shredded American cheese

In a 3-quart saucepan, melt the butter and sauté the minced onion.  Then whisk in the flour, whisk in the green pea juice, and begin adding—a little at a time—the heavy cream.  At this point season the sauce to your taste and spoon in the dry green peas and gently fold them into the cream sauce.      

When you’re ready to eat, either place a codfish cake on a heated plate and ladle the pea sauce of the top, or ladle out a generous portion of the sauce and place a pattie on the sauce.’
Vine-ripened sliced tomatoes on the side make a great accompaniment to this dish.