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Cooking Western Massachusetts Style

Some of the Chefs in Western Massachusetts like to take native ingredients and recipes and give them their own signature

fish cakes
* 1 lb. mixed fish, cut in large dice (salmon, swordfish, tuna)
* 1 small rib celery, finely diced
* 1/2 small green pepper, finely diced
* 1/2 small red pepper, finely diced
* 1/2 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
* 1/2 cup bread crumbs
* 1 tsp. mixed tarragon & chives, chopped
* 1 cup white wine & 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
* 1 egg
* 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
* 3/4 tsp. Tabasco sauce
* 1/2 tsp. salt
* 1/4 cup milk
* flour & oil as needed for cooking

sweet & spicy aioli sauce
* 4-5 cloves roasted garlic
* 2 oz. rice wine vinegar
* 1/4 cup Thai garlic chili sauce
* 1/2 tsp. salt, plus additional to taste
* 2 large egg yolks
* 2 oz. granulated sugar
* 1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil

Place the chopped fish in a small sauce pan. Cover the fish with tap water, the cup of white wine and the 1/2 cup wine vinegar. Boil gently just until the fish is opaque (just barely cooked through and juicy).

Drain and place in a bowl with the diced vegetables, eggs, Dijon mustard, Tabasco sauce and seasonings, mashing the mixture together like a meatloaf or meatball mixture. Add the milk to the bread crumbs to moisten and incorporate into the fish mixture. Form this mixture into 8 "patties", in a similar manor as making a hamburger patty. Chill until ready to cook.

For the sweet & spicy aioli sauce: place the sugar and vinegar in a small pan and heat over high heat, just to melt the sugar. Pull off the heat and reserve. Place the garlic cloves, eggs, salt and chili sauce in a food processor and turn on the power.

Very slowly incorporate the oil, the sauce should take on a thick mayonnaise consistency once you have added all the oil. Now with the machine still running, add the vinegar mixture, then stop the machine. You have created an emulsion, and the key to a successful emulsion is in the slow addition of the oil, so the sauce doesn't separate. If it is too thick at this point you may incorporate a little water to thin it out. Check the seasoning, it should have a good balance of sweet, sour, spicy and salty flavors to really make your taste buds salivate.

Heat some vegetable oil, enough to cover the bottom of a large saut� pan, until it is very hot, almost smoking. Dip the fish cakes in a flour and then cook for 2-3 minutes on a medium heat, until nice and golden brown. Flip the fish cakes over and cook the other side until nicely golden browned also.

To serve, place the mixed baby greens on serving plates topped with a small amount of vinaigrette. Place the warm fish cakes on top, topping them off with aioli sauce. Enjoy!

Courtesy Chef Chris Albano


Submitted by:

Chris Albano

Chris Albano is local chef and administrator for http://WesternMaChefs.com trying to give a little credit for the local heroes.


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