Even if you are not Catholic, Lent is a great time to take advantage of promotional pricing on seafood. With a higher volume being sold, you will not only get a better price but also a fresher product. Take advantage of the plentiful local ground fish (especially the tasty cod alternatives hake and pollock) to get the freshest fish and best value.

Fish cakes are a somewhat forgotten New England specialty. They feature two local products available throughout the winter months: fish and potatoes. You can honor our frugal Yankee roots by using up leftovers. Make a meal of any pan-roasted or oven baked flaky white fish and mashed potatoes, and make roughly twice what you’d normally make – then turn the leftovers into these crunchy fish cakes. You could even freeze the leftover fish and potatoes from one Lenten Friday dinner and serve the fish cakes the next week.

My family enjoyed these over mixed greens with steamed broccoli and lemon wedges as a light supper. They are also delicious in the traditional New England style served alongside baked beans.


Fish Cakes

About 2 Cups mashed potato, either leftover or 1 large russet potato cooked in the microwave, peeled, mashed and cooled

About 2 Cups cooked flaky white fish, either leftover or pan-seared and cooled – cod, pollock, hake and haddock all work well

2 eggs

About ¼ Cup all-purpose flour

Salt & pepper

About 1 Cup Panko breadcrumbs

Olive oil or vegetable oil for shallow frying – about ½ Cup


Combine mashed potatoes, one beaten egg and fish in a medium mixing bowl. Season liberally with salt and pepper and fold together until combined, taking care not to break up the fish too much.

Place flour on a shallow plate and season with salt and pepper. Form six equal patties from the fish and potato mixture and dredge each patty in flour.

At this point, fish cakes may be refrigerated until meal time.

Beat remaining egg in a shallow bowl and place breadcrumbs in another shallow bowl.

Heat oil in a cast iron pan or non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Dip each fish cake in egg and then breadcrumbs and fry until lightly browned and crisp 3-5 minutes per side.

Makes 6 cakes