Chow-Chow is a Nova Scotian and American relish that uses up those end-of-the-garden-season "orphaned" vegetables from the garden. I don't exactly know where it originates from, but I've seen recipes from the South (a staple whenever pinto beans and cornbread are served) and also from the Pennsylvania Dutch. It's a mixture of sweet, hot and spicy flavors that goes perfectly with these mild cod cakes.
Salted cod may not look very appealing to most, but it is one of the kingpin fishes for Italian and Portuguese families. Most people don't want to bother with the soaking of the fish, which plumps it up before it is cooked, but if prepared right, salt cod is worthy of praise! The slight saltiness of the cod brings out a whole new flavor to otherwise mild cod. Almost all major supermarkets including the ShopRite, Costco, Food Bazaar, H Mart, Jetro, Key Foods, and Shaws carry #Cristobal Brand salted cod fillets all year round.
For the Chow-Chow:
- 1 lb. unripe green tomatoes, cored and minced (or substitute tomatillos)
- 1 large ripe tomato, minced
- 1 yellow onion, minced
- 1 rib celery, minced
- 1/2 medium green bell pepper, cored, seeded and minced
- 1/2 medium red bell pepper, cored, seeded and minced
- 2 Tbsp. kosher salt
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup Apple Cider vinegar
- 1-1/2 tsp. dry mustard powder
- 1-1/2 tsp. yellow mustard seeds
- 1 tsp. celery seeds
- 1 tsp. turmeric
- 1 tsp. celery seed
To make the chow-chow: Toss the tomatoes, onions, celery, and peppers in a large bowl with the salt. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 1-2 hours. Transfer the vegetables to a sieve and press to extract the excess juices; discard the juices.
Transfer the vegetables to a 2 quart saucepan and add the remaining ingredients. Cover, bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are very soft, about 30 minutes. Transfer the relish to a jar and let cool. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.
For the Cod Cakes:
- 6 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 ribs celery, minced
- 1 medium onion, minced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 russet potatoes (about 1 lb.) peeled and cut into small cubes
- Kosher salt, to taste
- 1 lb. boneless, skinless salted cod filet
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 2 Tbsp. fresh dill
- 2 Tbsp. fresh minced parsley
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
Three days before
: Soak cod in a large bowl with cold water to cover by 2 inches. Refrigerate, changing the water 3 times a day for 2-3 days. Drain and cut into sections.
Make the cod cakes: Heat 2 tbsp. oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add celery, onions and garlic and cook until soft, about 8-10 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside.
Put the potatoes and cod into a 4 quart pot, cover with salted water and bring to a boil. Simmer until cod and potatoes are tender, about 15-20 minutes until potatoes are tender and the cod flakes easily with a fork. Drain and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Mash flaked cod and potatoes with a fork and add to celery-onion mixture.
Add the bread crumbs, mayonnaise, herbs, egg and lemon juice to the cod-potato-onion mixture and stir to combine. Divide the mixture into 8 equal portions and form into cakes. Transfer to a plate or baking pan, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes until firm.
Heat remaining oil and butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the cod cakes and cook, flipping once, until golden brown. Serve with chowchow and lemon halves.
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