Fish cakes were also part of the Christmas Eve festivities. You can vary the type of fish, but I like monkfish, which is very firm. Other choices include haddock, cod or even leftover cooked fish.
1½ cups soft, fresh breadcrumbs
1/4 cup milk
3 large eggs
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
2 tablespoons grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1 pound fresh monkfish, haddock, swordfish or cod fillet
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1 small carrot, peeled
1 small onion, peeled and quartered
¼–1/3 cup flour
3/4 cup fine breadcrumbs
2–3 cups vegetable oil, for frying
1. In a bowl, moisten the fresh breadcrumbs with the milk. Mix in 1 egg, sea salt, pepper, parsley and cheese. Set aside.
2. Place the fish in a shallow pan with 3 cups of water, coarse salt, carrot and onion; simmer until fish easily flakes, about 8–10 minutes.
3. With a slotted spatula, carefully lift the fish out of the water and place the fish in a bowl to cool to room temperature. Dice the carrot and add to the breadcrumb mixture. Discard the water and onion. Using a fork, flake the fish, then add it to the breadcrumb mixture and mix well.
4. Put the flour and fine breadcrumbs on separate plates. In a small bowl, beat the remaining eggs.
5. Divide the fish mixture evenly into 8 balls, forming them with your hands. Roll each ball in the flour and shake off the excess. Coat the balls in the beaten egg, then roll them in the fine breadcrumbs, coating the balls evenly. Place the balls on a plate and press down slightly with your hand to flatten a little.
6. In a deep skillet or deep-fryer, heat the vegetable oil to 375°F. Fry the fish cakes in the oil until golden brown, about 4–5 minutes per side. Drain on brown paper and serve hot, accompanied by lemon wedges.