Cod Cakes in Spicy Tomato Sauce

November 19, 2015
Cod Cakes in Spicy Tomato Sauce - Fish cakes that are light, soft, and full of flavor. The sweet & slightly spicy tomato sauce is the perfect accompaniment

I sat on the sofa this morning, curled up under my blanket

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drinking a cup of hot tea, and catching up on the morning news.  A quiet reprieve before the puppies came to life, and a new day would begin.

After the most beautiful of falls, the first forecast for snow in Iowa, coming in just a couple of days (5-7″!)   “Hum … Where are my snow boots and mittens?”

Clicking to the New York Times, I couldn't help but be reminded just how hard this season has been for so many people.  Certainly, so many weeks are hard for so many people, and there are always hardships happening throughout the world.  Although, right now, in my heart, somehow they all seem


I think of the people in other places of the world, the terrorist attacks in Paris, or the Syrian refugees.  People who are struggling; really struggling

Cod Cakes in Spicy Tomato Sauce - Fish cakes that are light, soft, and full of flavor. The sweet & slightly spicy tomato sauce is the perfect accompaniment

Around me as well, it seems like there are people I know and love that are navigating their own seasons of difficulty and transition.

The death of a friend's father, the birth of a baby, job worries, medical woes, where to live during the next season of life, and retirement on their own terms.

In our own lives as well, staples I've relied on to be solid, and places I've grown to love; some I fear have reached their end. Through it all, like so many others, I can't help but wonder what our new normal will look like.

When the world as I know it has been shaken, I think back to an interview with John Maxwell, and his thoughts on uncertainty.

“You're always going to have adversity.  But the difference is when you go through adversity, and you don't know your purpose, you tend to get tossed around a lot.  When you go through adversity, and you know your purpose, you'll feel the winds and the heat from the process.  But you don't get tossed.  You know who you are.  You know what you're supposed to do”    ~ John Maxwell via Lewis Howes

Feel the Winds

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Sometimes it's tough to find the right balance here in this online space I love so very much.

I strive to make The Veggies feel like a bright spot in your day.  A place to come for a new recipe, a story, a bit of nutrition information, or a little food for thought

Certainly, it's fun to write about things like baby showers, podcasts, love and marriage, healthy recipe apps, stories from dinner parties, anniversaries, and weddings.

And yet there's no shying away from the tougher aspects of life: addiction, losing someone we love, homelessness, or complicated relationships.

Even though current events aren't topics I write about here, it can feel a bit inauthentic to write about lighter topics during a season like this.  Yet, there's a part of me that often wonders if that isn't what we crave most when the world feels a

little dark

Cod Cakes in Spicy Tomato Sauce - Fish cakes that are light, soft, and full of flavor. The sweet & slightly spicy tomato sauce is the perfect accompaniment

A new recipe from the week

Fish cakes cooked in a thick tomato-onion sauce spiced with red chili, paprika, coriander, cumin, garlic.  The cakes are light, soft, and full of flavor.  The sweet and slightly spicy sauce is the perfect accompaniment.

They take a bit of time to prepare but come together easily.  I'd encourage you not to be overwhelmed by the substantial list of ingredients; most are staples and spices that you're likely to have on hand.

Serve them warm with your favorite side dish, or with crusty bread.  They taste just a great, if not better the next day.

A few notes about the recipe

Ottolenghi suggests cutting the fillets into tiny chunks before mixing them with the other ingredients.  This is definitely an option if you like a chunkier texture.  Another option is to add the fish, onion, and herbs to your food processor and pulse a few times.  It's a time-saver and will ensure you have a consistent mix

There seems to be a delicate balance when it comes to chilling the fish cakes.  I'd encourage you not to chill them longer than a half an hour or so, as they can become a bit brittle if left too long.



~ Adapted from Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi & Sami Tamini

Cod Cakes in Spicy Tomato Sauce


  • Cod Cakes
  • ¾ cups bread crumbs
  • 1 ½ lb cod (halibut, hake or pollock fillet, skinless and boneless)
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 oz flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 oz cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil, for searing the cakes

  • Tomato sauce
  • 2 ½ Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 red chili, de-seeded and finely chopped (optional depending on your tolerance for heat)
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 tsp natural sugar (Sugar in the Raw or Turbinado)
  • 2 Tbsp mint leaves, roughly chopped
  • fine grain sea salt + freshly ground black pepper


  • Tomato Sauce
  • In a large pan (for which you have a lid), over medium, heat the olive oil.
  • Add the onion and spices and cook for 8-10 minutes, or until the onion has softened
  • Add the wine and simmer for ~ 3 minutes.
  • Add the tomatoes, chili, garlic, sugar, ½ tsp of sea salt and some freshly ground black pepper. Simmer for ~15 minutes, until the sauce has become quite thick.
  • Taste and adjust the seasonings, and set aside

  • Cod Cakes
  • While the sauce is cooking, make the fish cakes.
  • Chop up the fish into very fine pieces (I pulsed the fillets a few times in the food processor), and place in a bowl, along with the bread crumbs and other ingredients (except for the olive oil).
  • Mix well and then, using your hands, shape the mixture into compact cakes, about an inch thick and 3-4 inches wide. (The mix should make ~ 8 cakes)
  • Put the cakes in the freezer or refrigerator for ~ 30 minutes, as they'll keep their shape better during cooking.
  • Heat a couple of Tbsp olive oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat, and sear the cod cakes for ~ 3 minutes on each side, until they've colored well.
  • Add the remaining oil as you fry the cakes.
  • Place the seared cakes gently, side by side, in the tomato sauce.
  • Add enough water to partially cover the cakes, about ¾ cup.
  • Cover the pan with the lid and simmer on very low heat for 15-20 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat and leave the cakes to settle, uncovered, for at least 10 minutes before serving warm or at room temperature, sprinkled with mint.
Serves: 6
Nutrition + Show
Calories 300
Total Fat 10.4g
Saturated Fat 2g
Carbohydrates 15g
Fiber 2g
Sugars 3.5g
Protein 30.8g
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