1 1/2 pounds cod fish, cut into chunks
3 large starchy potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 celery ribs and their greens, finely chopped
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
3 teaspoons dried thyme
3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Coarse black pepper
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 cups plain bread crumbs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 red bell pepper cored, seeded, and finely chopped
1 shallot, finely chopped
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups chicken stock or broth
1/2 cup cream or half-and-half
1/2 pound triple-washed baby spinach leaves
Bring 1/2 inch water to a simmer in a large nonstick skillet. Zest the lemon and reserve. Cut the lemon and season the fish with lemon juice and salt, then add the fish to the simmering water. Cover the pan and cook the fish for 8 minutes.
Place the potatoes in a pot and cover with cold water. Put a lid on the pot and bring the water to a boil. Salt the water and cook the potatoes until tender, about 15 minutes.
Remove the fish and flake it into a bowl. Discard the poaching water and wipe out the pan, returning it to the heat over a medium flame to heat up the 1/4 cup vegetable oil. Add the reserved lemon zest, celery, onions, Old Bay seasoning, thyme, parsley, salt, and pepper. Add the egg yolk and 1 cup of the bread crumbs.
Form 8 fish patties and coat in the remaining bread crumbs to set the patties. Cook the patties for 4 to 5 minutes on each side until golden and reserve under a foil tent.
Return the skillet to the heat again and melt 2 tablespoons of the butter, then add the red bell peppers and shallots and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook for a minute more. Whisk in the stock to make a red pepper gravy. Season the gravy with a little salt and pepper.
Drain the cooked potatoes and return to the hot pot. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, the remaining 1/2 cup of chicken stock, and the cream. Mash and season the potatoes with salt and pepper. Fold in the spinach leaves until they all wilt into the potatoes.
To serve, pile the spinach mashers on plates and top each portion with 2 croquettes and a spoonful of gravy.
Happy Saint Patrick's Day! It's too bad Rachael Ray doesn't have a meal with corned beef and cabbage for today! Oh well. This meal is better than it sounds. It was pretty tasty. The only problem I had was getting the patties to hold together. They did ok once one side was cooked, it was just hard getting them into the pan in one piece. I halved the recipe today, so we wouldn't have as many leftovers.
Here are some things I changed: I changed the bread crumbs from 2 cups to 1 1/2 cups. I changed the fresh thyme to dried. I changed the spinach from 1 pound to 1/2 pound. I used a yellow bell pepper, because that's what I had. This is a variation of the Turkey croquettes, so I separated them so as not to get too repetitive.