Closure, In The Form Of A Fish-Shaped Cod Cake With An Olive For An Eye

Jan 15, 2014

Back when Caddys had tail fins, my favorite dish was equally piscine: Gorton's Codfish Cakes. Mom mixed this whitish paste with mashed potatoes, shaped it into patties and fried them like little fishburgers. 

But I didn't want my codfish cakes in patties. I wanted what the photo on the side of the Gorton's can described  as "serving suggestion," which was the patty shaped into the form of a stylized fish. It even had a slice of pimento-stuffed olive for a fish eye. 

"Mom," I begged, "make it like the serving suggestion!"  

Shirley the Flatbush girl never minced words.   The Chesterfield King bobbed in her lips as she sneered "Whaddaya, nuts?" She dished up the spaghetti fried in ketchup she always made to go with the boringly round fish cakes. "Get outta heahr an' tell yer fahder we're eating." 

The Gorton's Company doesn't make the fish cake stuff anymore, so I've had to whip up my own. Now, after  decades of obsession, I have finally recreated the Gorton's Codfish Cake mixture and wrought it into the artful shape it deserves.    

Dick's Gorton Codfish Cake Recreation

1 pound cod filets

1 egg

Some mashed potatoes

Some fine bread crumbs, maybe 1/2 to 3/4 cup

Salt and pepper to taste

2 inches Chesterfield King ash  (optional)

Sliced pimento stuffed olive

1. Simmer the fish till it's cooked and you can flake it easily with a fork or your fingers. 

2. Blend in the egg and enough spuds and bread crumbs to make a pretty stiff mixture.

3. Shape as a little fish and fry in 1-inch oil until golden brown on both sides.

4. Drain on paper towels and place olive slice where the eye should be.


Don't make these any bigger than your spatula, and they won't come apart when you turn them over in the pan.

For full authenticity, serve with boiled spaghetti sauteed with ketchup. 

Think that's bad? Check out some of these 21 truly upsetting vintage recipes.

"I know the human being and fish can co-exist peacefully."

– George W. Bush