Newfoundland Salt Cod Fish Cakes

Newfoundland, Canada

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes


    small fishcakes

Appears in

Lavender & Lovage: A Culinary Notebook of Memories & Recipes From Home & Abroad

Lavender & Lovage

By Karen Burns-Booth

Published 2019

  • About

I first tasted these delectable salt cod fish cakes at Lori McCarthy’s house in St John’s, Newfoundland a few years ago… I subsequently learnt that they are one of Newfoundland’s signature recipes, with every household claiming to have the best recipe. They are certainly entrenched in the culinary history of Newfoundland and its importance as a cod fishing region, and as part of its trading route with the Caribbean and beyond. This is why salt cod is part of many West Indian countries’ cuisine, and rum is very popular in Newfoundland, it’s all to do with the historical trading between the two regions. These are traditionally fried in “scruncheons”, which are pieces of crispy pork fat, but are just as delicious when fried in butter.


  • 100 g butter
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon dried savory
  • 675 g potatoes, peeled and cut into small chunks
  • 450 g salt cod, soaked overnight
  • Salt and white pepper


  1. Simmer the salt cod in boiling water for about 15 minutes. Drain the water off the fish and allow the fish to cool to almost room temperature.
  2. When the fish is cool, flake it apart with a fork into small pieces.
  3. Add the butter and diced onion to a frying pan and fry until a light golden brown and soft. Add the dried savory and set aside.
  4. Boil the potatoes until soft and mash with a hand masher. (Do not whip them, as they will become too glutinous) Add the onion mixture to the mashed potatoes and then add the flaked salt cod.
  5. Season to taste with white pepper, and a little salt if necessary.
  6. The cakes should be formed while the mixture is still warm. Form 10 little balls and flatten them into “cakes” or patties. Dust with a good sprinkle of flour and pan fry in butter to create a nice brown finish.
  7. Serve with a mustard pickle and pickled beetroot.