This Caribbean dish is a favorite on the Thanksgiving table at the home of Buxton residents Marcia MacDonald and Desmond Williams, who met in St. Kitts. You need to start the recipe the day before you plan to serve it.

Serves 6

1 pound salted cod

1½ cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 egg

1 cup milk

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

1 teaspoon fresh thyme

½ teaspoon allspice

Dash of red pepper flakes

½ habanero chili, seeds removed, finely diced

2-3 scallions, chopped

Salt, pepper to taste

Vegetable oil for pan frying

Soak the codfish in a bowl overnight. Drain, then place the fish in a saucepan and cover again with cold water. Bring to a simmer on the stovetop, and simmer for about 10 minutes; this will remove some of the salt. Drain well, then chop up saltfish and set aside.

Sift the flour and baking powder into a medium bowl. In a small bowl, whisk the egg and milk together, then stir it into flour mixture. Stir in the garlic, herbs, spices, habanero and scallions. Add the saltfish and combine. The batter will be a bit sticky. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding salt and pepper. Saltcod is very salty, so you probably won’t need much salt.

Heat the oil in a skillet. (Drop in a little batter to test if the oil is hot enough.) Drop the batter by tablespoon into the skillet. Press down with a spatula and cook the fishcakes until golden brown. Flip and cook on other side. Place on paper towels to drain.

Serve warm, as is, or with a favorite dipping sauce. The MacDonald-Williams family favorite follows:


1/4 cup ketchup

1/4 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons horseradish

Juice of a lemon

2 tablespoons capers

2 tablespoons chopped basil leaves

Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a bowl.

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