These fish and potato cakes are a quintessential New England dish

It used to be a regular Saturday meal in old New England, and of course, Maine. Salt codfish or slack-salted fish — like hake treated with a little less salt and not dried as hard as a shingle — simmered up and served with boiled potatoes, and fried pork scraps scattered over the top.

Leftovers were perfect for fish cakes. Sometimes fish cakes met up with baked beans on Sunday, Saturday being the baking day and a bean pot left in the old brick oven to use up the last bit of heat to produce succulent beans in a rich gravy of molasses and pork fat.

Fish cakes still usefully employ leftovers, if you’ve baked haddock, cod, pollock or any other white fish and still have some uneaten. A few boiled potatoes might become home fries, but if you mash them into the leftover fish, form patties out of the mix, then dip them in beaten egg and cornmeal to fry them until crunchy, that is a fine meal. If you have baked beans, serve some, of those, too, and because it’s the 21st century, after all, offer a green salad on the side.

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