Cod potato cakes + creamy tarragon lemon sauce

I’m sorta kinda obsessed with tarragon lately. Last week I treated myself to at-home smoked salmon and bagels with a lovely tarragon-shallot cream cheese— the latter of which I’m still happily finding things to slather it on as a means for quick delivery to mouth (it’s seriously so good guys, especially mixed in with scrambled eggs!), and since I loved it so much and am a huge tarragon fan, and let’s be real here…since I still had a mess of it still chilling in my fridge, I wanted to come up with another way of  using it before we leave for Florida on Saturday.

I love potatoes. But I mean, who doesn’t right? And I’ve always had an affinity for them all smashed up and fried into patties. It’s got that creamy inside, crunchy outside thing going on and then when you top it with a super yummy sauce, it’s just like…whoa, close your eyes good. So, while I started playing around with a recipe in my head I knew for sure that it had to include these potatoes since I was already getting way excited about the prospect of eating it, but I also wanted to toss in something else that would play nice texture-wise and at the same time help tie in the tarragon bit, and it was then that the idea of adding cod struck me. Cod, relatively speaking, is a fairly mild fish with good flakiness to it and thought it would pair well with the potatoes and especially the tarragon, since that herb seems to go hand-in-hand with seafood most of the time.

Guys, this ish was bananas. Sometimes when I eat something really yummy I take super small bites just to prolong the goodness. This was one of those times. I never wanted to get to the end! And when I did (unfortunate but expected), I pretty much wiped off any last remnant of sauce from my plate with my finger.

Creamy tarragon lemon sauce

Makes 1 cup

1 small shallot, chopped roughly

3/4 cup mayonnaise, preferably homemade

2 tablespoons packed fresh tarragon leaves

Zest from 1 lemon

Juice from 1/2 lemon

S + P

// Put all ingredients into a small food processor and whir together until everything is chopped finely and combined. Season to taste. Stash in the fridge. This keeps for about a week.

Cod potato cakes

Makes 10 cakes (kind of a weird number but plan on serving 2 cakes per person)

1 pound cod, cut into 4 filets and seasoned with s + p

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

// In a medium-sized fry pan heat up the butter and olive oil over medium heat. Put the cod in the pan and cook until golden on both sides and mostly cooked through. Set aside on a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Clean out pan with a paper towel.

3/4 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed clean and diced small

S + P

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium leek, cut in half lengthwise, cleaned thoroughly, and sliced thin

2 fat garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon fresh tarragon leaves, minced

// In the same fry pan, add butter and olive oil and let it sizzle over medium-low heat. Toss in the potatoes and get them well coated with the fats. Season with salt and pepper, cover with lid, and cook until golden and cooked through, tossing occasionally. Add in the sliced leeks, garlic, and tarragon and saute with the potatoes, using a fork to slightly smash everything together. Cook until fragrant. Put all of this into a large bowl.

3 teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons mayonnaise, preferably homemade

1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs

1/4 teaspoon dry mustard

Pinch cayenne pepper

S + P

1 egg

Olive oil, for frying

// Grab your cod and break it up into pieces into the bowl with the potato mixture. Then, add the Parmesan cheese, mayonnaise, panko, dry mustard, cayenne pepper, and s + p. Taste for seasonings, adding more spice to suit. Then, add the egg and mix everything together until combined.

Using an ice cream scoop, portion out mixture and form into cakes. Put on a plate and stash in fridge to chill for about 30 minutes.

When ready to fry them up, grab a pan and drizzle with olive oil. Turn up the heat to medium-high and place the cakes onto the pan in batches, and cooking until both sides are golden brown, about 2-3 minutes total. Set them onto a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

Serve warm with a generous dollop of tarragon lemon sauce.

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  • DeniseApril 23, 2013 - 12:26 pm

    Seriously? I just read your salmon post earlier this morning (after a failed attempt of hitting the gym), and now I refresh my feed and you are back with cod. We LOVE cod, salted and unsalted. I blame the love affair to our family backgrounds, Lenny is Portuguese (100 %) and I am about a quarter Basque. I hate salmon cakes, so I am going to have to try these cod cakes, would make a great light dinner. I bet it would also be good with salted cod. Have you tried making your own salt cod? It is so easy – I become a convert after the first try.ReplyCancel

    • StephanieApril 23, 2013 - 1:42 pm

      Hi Denise! You know, I actually thought about including salted cod whilst making the recipe but since I’ve never actually tasted it before, decided against. I bet it’s delicious though. How do you use it? And do you have a recipe??ReplyCancel

  • MichelleApril 23, 2013 - 1:17 pm

    This sounds so, so good. Sauces like that are totally meant to be licked off the plate!ReplyCancel

    • StephanieApril 23, 2013 - 1:44 pm

      Hey Michelle! Gosh yes, I don’t think I make anything that does not have a sauce to go with. I think it’s what makes a dish, to be honest. And it gives me license to lick my plate clean every time. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • EileenApril 23, 2013 - 2:19 pm

    Fishcakes! SO good. These do sound like a tarragon explosion, especially with that amazing tangy sauce. I want some! 🙂ReplyCancel

    • StephanieApril 24, 2013 - 2:02 pm

      Hey Eileen! It’s a definite tarragon explosion. And I’m so incredibly sad because we just polished off the last of it two days ago, along with the sauce.ReplyCancel

  • LindaApril 24, 2013 - 6:41 pm

    I’ve never tried tarragon (kind of embarrassing, eh?) but I’ve always heard such lovely things about it. Although, to be honest, I’m pretty sure anything would taste good alongside potato/fish cakes. You just happened to find the best-tasting thing, haha.ReplyCancel

    • StephanieApril 24, 2013 - 9:28 pm

      Hi Linda! You know, it’s only been about what…a couple years since I really started cooking with tarragon. I always add it to my compound butters now. Another herb I’d like to experiment with is chervil. I don’t think I’ve had it enough on its own to truly know what it tastes like. Have you fiddled with that much?ReplyCancel

  • Island VittlesMay 19, 2013 - 12:42 am

    You posted these for my birthday, but I just saw them now! These look fantastic. Cod is a favourite and a budget-saver in this house!ReplyCancel

    • StephanieMay 19, 2013 - 3:20 pm

      Theresa, well happy belated birthday! Yes it’s true, cod is such a bargain! And it’s really one of my favorite fish– you can do so much with it.ReplyCancel

  • Irina @ wandercrushMay 28, 2013 - 10:15 am

    I’m such a sucker for fish and taters! This recipe is a dream come true, really. Haha, thank you for sharing! Glad to have found your pretty blog.ReplyCancel

    • StephanieMay 28, 2013 - 2:01 pm

      Irina, welcome! I know, I’m a major sucker for fish and potatoes too which is why I thought to smash both together. 🙂 They are really so good!ReplyCancel

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