Ladyfish, also known as skipjacks or tenpounders, are part of the elopidae family of fish and are related to the tarpon. They are found throughout the world in tropical, subtropical and temperate waters but are most prevalent in the Gulf of Mexico. Because their body is quite bony and their flesh tends to be on the mushy side, these fish are not commonly used for consumption and tend to be used as bait. They are however edible, have a mild flavor and, when mixed with a few ingredients, are suitable as a base for making tasty fish cakes and similar dishes.
Clean and gut the whole fish, taking care to remove the scales. Filet the fish and remove the rib bones. Using a spoon, scrape the flesh away from the bones and place into a bowl. When all of the flesh is removed, carefully pick through to discard any tiny bones.
Combine mayonnaise, egg and lime juice. Add finely chopped celery and fresh parsley to the mixture. Season the mix with salt and pepper to taste.
Add the flaked fish to the mayonnaise mixture and blend well. Allow the mixture to chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to firm up.
Form the mixture into patties. Place the bread crumbs onto a plate. Gently dredge each patty in the crumbs and turn to coat.
Heat oil in a frying pan on medium heat. Place the fish cakes into the skillet and cook about 5 minutes on each side, until the crumbs are golden brown and the cake is cooked through.
- Serve the cakes with tarter sauce, aioli or a chipotle cream dip, garnished with a wedge of lime.
- To insure a firmer patty, do not cook the ladyfish before making the fish cakes.
Candi Canncel is a writer covering food and drinks, travel and lifestyle. Her work has appeared on Food and Wine Travel, Craft Gossip, Belltown Local and other publications. She also teaches cooking classes and hosts food/wine seminars.