1 1/2 pounds dried salt cod, rinsed
10 parsley sprigs
2 sprigs thyme
1 small bay leaf
1 small onion, halved
4 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for shallow frying
1/2 cup minced shallot
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon finely sliced chives
3 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon minced tarragon
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 3/4 cups fresh bread crumbs
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon, cut into 4 wedges
Tartar Sauce, recipe follows
1 cup prepared mayonnaise
1 tablespoon finely chopped cornichons
1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/4 teaspoon finely chopped fresh tarragon
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped capers
1 small scallion, white and green, minced
1/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 to 3 drops hot sauce (optional)
Soak the salt cod in enough cold water to cover, for 48 hours in the refrigerator. Change the water every day. Drain and cut into large pieces.
Tie the parsley, thyme, and bay together with kitchen twine. Put the bundle in a soup pot along with the onion and milk. Bring to a slow simmer over medium heat; add the cod and poach for 15 minutes or until the fish just flakes. Drain and cool. Discard the milk, herb bundle, and onion.
Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet, and saute the shallots over medium-low heat, until golden, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more. Set aside to cool slightly. Flake the cod into a medium bowl with your fingers, discarding any bones or skin. Mix the fish with the shallot mixture, the chives, parsley, tarragon, cream, 3/4 cup of the breadcrumbs, egg and salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the mixture to a food processor and pulse several times, until the mixture is combined but not pureed. Form the mixture into 8 disks, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
When ready to serve dredge the cakes in the remaining crumbs. Heat a large skillet filled about a 1/4 inch deep with oil medium heat. Saute the cakes until golden for about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Serve with lemon wedges and tartar sauce.
In a small mixing bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, cornichons, parsley, tarragon, capers, scallion, lemon zest, juice, and the hot sauce, if using. Refrigerate for 30 minutes for the flavors to come together. Serve.
Yield: about 1 1/4 cups
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