Be forewarned: It makes about six small cakes, and we finished the whole thing just the two of us. If you're feeding more than two, I'd double.
1/3 cup white wine
2 large sprigs parsley
1/2 teaspoon whole peppercorns
1 pound cod [I used the flash-frozen stuff from Wegmans, which I think is excellent, thawed in the refrigerator for a day]
4-5 tablespoons olive oil
Freshly ground pepper
1/2 red onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped parsley, plus more for garnish
1 teaspoon old bay [I used more like a tablespoon]
1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1/4 cup panko
1/4 cup mayonaise
1/2 cup flour
Combine 1 c water with the wine, the sprigs of parsley, and the peppercorns. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. [the original recipe has you do this with a steamer attachment, which I don't have. also, my cod was still slightly frozen, so I wanted it to go directly into the boiling water-wine mixture.]
Put in the fish and turn the heat down slightly, cover and poach for 8-12 minutes, until the cod flakes easily.
Transfer the cod to a large mixing bowl and set aside until it’s cool enough to handle.
Meanwhile, in a small frying pan over medium heat, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the red onion and cook until beginning to become translucent. Add the garlic and half of the parsley, and cook another 4-5 minutes, until the vegetables are cooked through. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt, some freshly ground pepper, the Old Bay seasoning, and the smoked paprika. Cook another minute, then remove from the heat.
Shred the cod into small pieces and remove any bones. Add the onion mixture, the panko, the mayonaise, and the remaining chopped parsley. Stir to combine, then taste for salt, adding more as needed.
Form the mixture into 6 even patties. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 8.
On a shallow plate, combine the flour with a good pinch of salt and a couple grinds of hot pepper.
Film a large frying pan with about 2 tablespoons of oil and place it over medium heat. Sprinkle a tiny bit of flour in; when it sizzles, you’re ready to go.
Gently place each cod cake in the flour, flipping to coat, then put it in the pan, taking care not to crowd. (if your pan is small, do two batches). Cook until golden brown, about 4 minutes, then carefully flip each cake with a thin metal spatula and cook another 3-4 minutes until the second side is golden brown.