Jeff Sharp of Baltimore wrote, "My wife has had a yearning for a thing she calls Baltimore Coddies. I do most of the cooking at our house and have tried several codfish cake recipes but none brought back the taste she remembers. She grew up in Highlandtown and says she always found them in stores around that area. Can you tell me where to find them?"
Another request for coddies came from Judie Quent of Berlin who wrote, "Please help me. I'm homesick for coddies. Growing up in Baltimore we ate coddies all the time. I now live near Ocean City and I'm interested in making them."
From many responses, tester Laura Reiley chose a recipe from Kirk Kraft of Baltimore who wrote, "HEY HON! Growing up in Highlandtown, I've eaten a few coddies. This recipe had been handed down to me by an old Highlandtown Hon. I'm also glad to see that another man is happy to cook for his wife as I am for mine and my family."
How about a turnip coleslaw and dressing? That's the request made by Michal Makarnich of Baltimore. Tester Reiley chose a recipe from Elaine Bartnick of Crystal Lake, Ill.
Makes 16-20 coddies
1 pound salted codfish
1 to 1 1/4 pounds potatoes
1/2 cup chopped parsley (stems removed)
1 small diced onion
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Soak the fish for 24 hours in a bowl of water. Change the water every 6-8 hours. Cover the fish with water in a pan and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Drain and break with a fork; cool. Peel, dice and boil potatoes until cooked. Drain, mash and cool. Combine fish, potatoes and remaining ingredients and make into thin, palm-sized balls. Flatten slightly and cook in a pan filled with 1/4 inch of oil. Brown cakes on each side and drain. Replace diminished oil between batches. An alternative is to bake the coddies at 350 degrees for 25 minutes on a greased cookie sheet or broil for 5 minutes on each side.
Tester Reiley's comments: "These are best fried; baking and broiling don't yield the same crisp exterior and creamy interior. Although coddies are quintessentially Baltimore, these remind me of sophisticated French brandade. Like creamy potato pancakes, they have the sharp, fishy taste of salt cod accented by fried onion and the bright green parsley. They make a nice appetizer if they are formed into silver dollar-sized pancakes, and a filling entree otherwise."
Serves 4-6 as a side dish
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon white or cider vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup chopped sweet red bell pepper
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onion
4 cups shredded, peeled turnips (about 3 medium)
In a bowl, combine first five ingredients until blended well. Add bell pepper, onion and turnips and toss well to coat. Refrigerate several hours for flavors to blend.
Tester Reiley's comment: "This is a great recipe! It combines the creamy sweetness of a regular slaw-style dressing with the peppery kick of raw turnip. It is visually pleasing with the white shredded turnips dotted with green and red. People will not be able to determine what vegetable it is. Turnips also have a slight sweetness and a nice crunchiness when raw. It is easiest to shred them in the food processor with the shredding attachment; a regular hand grater will also work, but makes shreds that are a bit too small."
* Charlotte Levin of Reisters-town remembers the Kenny Rogers restaurant and a recipe called "mashed pumpkin squash or butternut squash. It tasted more like sweet potatoes." Since the restaurant is no longer in business, she's hoping someone has an idea of how it was made.
* Myra Weir of Baltimore wants a recipe for Black Walnut Cookies. "I truly have no idea what is in them. I do remember the color was beige or light tan and how they spread out and, oh, that glorious smell."
If you are looking for a recipe or can answer a request for a hard-to-find recipe, write to Ellen Hawks, Recipe Finder, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278. If you send in more than one recipe, please put each on a separate sheet of paper with your name, address and daytime phone number. Important: Please list the ingredients in order of use, and note the number of servings each recipe makes. Please type or print contributions. Letters may be edited for clarity.