There has been a discussion lately on Twitter about how fish and cheese just don’t go together. As a general rule, I will agree. I wouldn’t throw a slice of Gouda on a piece of salmon or grate fine cheddar all over crab. However this recipe was exceptional and pairs fish with a substance often labeled as cheese – ricotta.
Ricotta isn’t actually cheese, though. It is a dairy product made from heating whey. Most people consider it a cheese however so I will state here that while I generally don’t advocate pairing fish with cheese, pairing halibut with a dairy product such as this isn’t a bad idea at all.
We improvised this recipe the other day when we simply didn’t have the time or the energy to cook anything more involved. My parents always used to cook salmon cakes when I was growing up and I loved them. Of course, this was long before I discovered how much better fresh salmon is from the canned stuff they used to buy. We used Wilson Fish halibut and Sea Breeze Farm’s herbed ricotta.
- 1/3 lb halibut
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup herbed ricotta
- Salt and pepper
Fresh halibut will pull apart pretty easily, so you can either cut it into small chunks or just use your fingers to pull it apart into small bits.
Mix the halibut with the egg and the ricotta in a bowl and season with salt and pepper.
In a skillet over medium heat, warm some olive oil or lard.
Form the halibut into cakes using either your hands or a half cup measuring cup.
The cakes should be no more than 1 inch thick.
Place the cakes in the pan and cook for about 5-7 minutes per side, or until golden brown.
Chef’s Notes: I was a little worried about this recipe. After all, it is an improvisation and it uses the dreaded fish/cheese type product combination. But they were excellent. Would I serve this in a fine restaurant? Probably not. I’d be too concerned with the anti-fish/cheese movement calling me out. But would I make this for friends and family? Absolutely. The herbs in the ricotta helped flavor the fish and the outside of the cakes were crispy and crunchy while the insides were moist and creamy. The ricotta is mild enough not to overpower the flavor of the halibut, but the herbs with it really shone though. If you don’t have herbed ricotta, you can throw in some oregano, basil, or thyme in the bowl.
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