Cod cakes are a traditional Newfoundland dish that many Newfies still eat weekly. The ingredients are not perishable, so this dish would see people through a long, ice-bound winter.
The summer savory is not absolutely required, but it does add a nice flavor, and savory is pretty much the “official” herb of Newfoundland. Wherever you go in Newfoundland, if a dish features an herb, it will be summer savory, and savory stuffing is the standard stuffing for fish and birds alike.
As for the salt pork fat, you can simply discard the crunchy little bits after you’ve rendered the fat, but in Newfoundland, they would most likely be saved to use as the “condiment” called scrunchions, which are usually served with cod tongues (though I find they are pleasant with the cod cakes, as well).
Because the fish has to be soaked, you need to start this dish the night before you plan to make the recipe. It’s a fair bit of work, but it’s worth the effort. And once you know how to work with salt cod, you will find a world of traditional recipes opening up to you, from the bacalao of Portugal to the brandade de morue of southern France. Continue reading