Several years ago I stumbled across an article which appeared in an early 1990’s issue of The Fisherman which outlined several different recipes for preparing striped bass. Even though I am not in general a big fan of eating fish, one of the recipes jumped out at me: Cheesy Fish Cakes. The cheese part comes from the use of cheese crackers like Cheese-Its or Cheese Nips, not sliced deli cheese or the likes, and has become one of my favorite ways to prepare most any flaky, white fish. I modified the recipe a little bit to fit my taste preferences, and what follows is the current rendition of this great dish.

2 pounds fillets
3 rounded tbsp mayonnaise
1.5 rounded tbsp dijon mustard
3 eggs
1 cup Italian breadcrumbs
1 box cheese crackers
1 small onion
1 pepper (red, orange or yellow)
6-9 mushrooms or a small can of pieces
11-ounce can corn
Olive oil
Old bay seasoning
Red pepper flakes
Salt & pepper to taste

Begin by chopping the onions, peppers, and mushrooms by hand or in a food processor, leaving them as large as you would like. I prefer to have the pieces small but you might prefer larger chunks of veggies in your final product. Sauté this mixture in a hot pan with olive oil and add the corn once the onions begin to turn slightly translucent. While the vegetable mixture is cooking, cut the fish into small pieces and poach for about ten minutes. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, mayonnaise, mustard, and seasonings. When the vegetables are tender, remove from the heat and place them into a large mixing bowl; add to the egg mixture and mix well. I find this is best accomplished by hand but be careful as the vegetables will be hot. You can let them cool for a while if you have time.

Once thoroughly mixed, add the fish and break up the fillets as you mix it all together (again, hand mixing works the best). Slowly sprinkle the breadcrumbs into the mixture. Take handfuls of the cheese nips and crush them in your hands over the mixture and fold the mixture. Keep adding and mixing the crushed cheese nips until the mixture reaches a consistency that allows you to form it into small balls (all of the box might not be used). Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan and place the balls into it, flattening them into discs. You can also roll the mixture in seasoned or Panko breadcrumbs prior to frying for additional crisp and flavor. Brown each side and set the finished product aside until the entire batch is complete. Leftovers can be vacuum-sealed and frozen for later consumption, and the mixture itself can also be sealed and frozen prior to frying.

The cakes can be eaten as an appetizer, main course or on a roll, and I have found that they are even better when re-heated the next day in the microwave and served on a bulkie roll as a sandwich. I will generally top the cakes, regardless of presentation, with a basic remoulade sauce (recipe below.) Enjoy!

1-1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup brown or dijon mustard
1 tbsp paprika
1 – 2 tsp cajun seasoning
2 tsp prepared horseradish
1 tsp pickle juice
1 tsp Tabasco sauce
1 large garlic clove, minced

Combine all ingredients and set aside. The longer the sauce is allowed to rest, the better it tastes.