Prince William and Kate Middleton are spending a rainy day on Prince Edward Island today, the only destination in Atlantic Canada on their Canadian tour. They have a packed schedule, including a picnic and an over water maneuver aboard a Sea King search-and-rescue helicopter. I’m curious what they’ll be fed for dinner.
Anytime I think of PEI I think of my friend, food superstar and Prince Edward Island native Chef Michael Smith. Undoubtedly one of Canada’s most well known and well loved ambassadors of Canadian cuisine, he is recognized not only for his height (he’s 67″) but for his warm presence on The Inn Chef, Chef at Large, Chef Abroad and Chef at Home, which airs on Food Network Canada as well as in 26 countries worldwide.
Of all his TV series, Chef at Home is perhaps the most popular. The fact that the show allows its audience a peek into Michael’s home kitchen in PEI and lets us pull up a chair at the dinner table with his family, is no doubt a contributing factor to its enormous popularity. While Michael shines in restaurant kitchens around the globe, he’s obviously happiest at home, cooking for and with family and friends.
Michael Smith’s Potato Fish Cakes
Printed with permission from The Best of Chef at Home by Michael Smith.
Historically, fish cakes have been one of the most common ways to eat fish in the Maritime provinces of Canada. Usually they were made with preserved salt cod, but today they’re much tastier with fresh salmon. These crispy cakes are as easy to make as they are to enjoy.
a splash or two of vegetable oil
2 fillets of salmon or any other fish, about 12 oz. (375 g) in total
a sprinkle or two of sea salt and freshly ground pepper
4 large baking potatoes, peeled
2 eggs, whisked together
1 Tbsp. (15 mL) Dijon mustard
2 green onions, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp. (30 mL) all-purpose flour
1-2 Tbsp. (15-30 mL) butter
Preheat a sauté pan or skillet over medium-high heat.
Add a splash of oil to the pan, enough to cover the bottom of the pan with a thin film. Season the salmon filets with salt and pepper and carefully place them in the pan. Sear the fillets on both sides until they’re golden brown, crispy and cooked through.
Boil or steam the potatoes. Toss hot potatoes into a mixing bowl. Using a potato masher, mash them until smooth. Add the salmon, eggs, mustard and green onions. Season with more salt and pepper. Beat with a wooden spoon until everything is well combined and then form the mixture into evenly shaped cakes. Dredge them in the flour.
Clean out the skillet and preheat over medium-high heat. Add another splash of oil and this time 1-2 tablespoons or so of butter. When the butter melts and sizzles, add the fish cakes. Pan-fry them until they’re golden brown and crispy on both sides.
Photo courtesy of The Best of Chef at Home (Whitecap Books)