Ultimate fish cakes

Ultimate fish cakes

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(63 ratings)

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Cooking time

Prep: 25 mins - 30 mins

Skill level

Moderately easy

Servings

Serves 4

Angela Nilsen went in search of perfection in her quest to pack flavour and texture into fish cakes

Nutrition and extra info

Additional info

  • Freeze, pref unfried - thaw for 4 hours
  • Healthy
Nutrition info

Nutrition per serving

kcalories
359
protein
29g
carbs
36g
fat
12g
saturates
2g
fibre
2g
sugar
3g
salt
0.7g

Ingredients

For the tartare-style sauce

  • 125ml mayonnaise
  • 1 rounded tbsp capers, roughly chopped (rinsed and drained if salted)
  • 1 rounded tsp creamed horseradish
  • 1 rounded tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 small shallot, very finely chopped
  • 1 tsp flatleaf parsley, finely chopped

For the fish cakes

  • 450g skinned Icelandic cod or haddock fillet, from a sustainable source
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 150ml milk
  • 350g Maris Piper potatoes
  • ½ tsp finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp fresh white flatleaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 tbsp snipped chives
  • 1 egg
  • flour, for shaping
  • 85g fresh white breadcrumbs, preferably a day or two old
  • 3-4 tbsp vegetable or sunflower oil, for shallow frying
  • lemon wedges and watercress, to serve

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Method

  1. Mix all the sauce ingredients together. Set aside. Lay the fish and bay leaves in a frying pan. Pour over the milk and 150ml/¼ pint water. Cover, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 4 mins. Take off the heat and let stand, covered, for 10 mins to gently finish cooking the fish.
  2. Meanwhile, peel and chop the potatoes into even-sized chunks. Put them in a saucepan and just cover with boiling water. Add a pince of salt, bring back to the boil and simmer for 10 mins or until tender, but not broken up.
  3. Lift the fish out of the milk with a slotted spoon and put on a plate to cool. Drain the potatoes in a colander and leave for a min or two. Tip them back into the hot pan on the lowest heat you can and let them dry out for 1 min, mashing them with a fork and stirring so they don't stick. You should have a light, dry fluffy mash. Take off the heat and beat in 1 rounded tbsp of the sauce, then the lemon zest, parsley and chives. Season well with salt and pepper. The potato should have a good flavour, so taste and adjust to suit.
  4. Drain off liquid from the fish, grind some pepper over it, then flake it into big chunks into the pan of potatoes. Using your hands, gently lift the fish and potatoes together so they just mix (see pic 1). You'll only need a couple of turns, or the fish will break up too much. Put to one side and cool.
  5. Beat the egg on a large plate and lightly flour a board. Spread the breadcrumbs on a baking sheet. Divide the fish cake mixture into four. On the floured board, and with floured hands, carefully shape into four cakes, about 2.5cm thick (pic 2). One by one, sit each cake in the egg, and brush over the top and sides so it is completely coated (pic 3). Sit the cakes on the crumbs, patting the crumbs on the sides and tops so they are lightly covered. Transfer to a plate, cover and chill for 30 mins (or up to a day ahead).
  6. Heat the oil in a large frying pan. To test when ready, drop a piece of the dry breadcrumbs in - if it sizzles and quickly turns golden brown, it is ready to use. Fry the fish cakes over a medium heat for about 5 mins on each side or until crisp and golden. Serve with the rest of the sauce (squeeze in a little lemon zest to taste), lemon wedges for squeezing over and watercress.

Recipe from Good Food magazine, April 2006

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Comments

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Cdub's picture
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Forgot to add... I used panko breadcrumbs instead of white since that's what I had on hand. Was excellent.

Cdub's picture
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Fabulous fish cakes! I used wild salmon and plain haddock. Had never done fish cakes with potatoes in them before and was impressed. Used the tartare sauce recipe from another GF recipe since I liked the ingredients more (included gherkins, added a nice hint of sweet) but I'm sure either is a good choice. A keeper for sure!

JenLD's picture

Still making this recipe so it is officially a keeper. One thing, I put all the tartar sauce ingredients in my magic bullet and whizzed it up. I also used less mayo and a bit more of the capers and parsley. It came out lovely, green, fluffy and super tasty. For anyone who is afraid this recipe is too much work, I have found it worth the trouble. And the fact that you can break up the tasks with no damage to the results means with a little planning, it doesn't have to be onerous.

JenLD's picture

It's lovely to read the different types of fish this recipe works with so well! I shockingly had all the ingredients except a lemon (and ran out for that!). I love the sauce because it's so different from American tartar sauce which is fairly bland. We are happy fish eaters on Fridays so this one is a great addition to my repertoire! Many thanks!

VC's picture
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Quite fiddley & prep time was underestimated. Taste was average. Overall we were disappointed. Good quality Supermarket fish cakes are nicer to eat, involve far less hassle and are cheaper! We won't be attempting them again.

djilett's picture
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a straight forward recipe, but you will use a lot of dishes. The fishcakes and the sauce are superb though; well received by all. I will definitely make this recipe again.

shrutidhungana's picture

These are great! Me and husband ate two each as a bigger portion and were stuffed! If serving with side salads and dessert, one fish cake each is plenty if you have a moderate appetite. I made these using gluten free flour and made no difference at all.

Eddie1962's picture
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Excellent recipe - enjoyed by all. I made these last night in roughly the right proportions, using chopped up smoked salmon and cooked king prawns (leftover from Christmas day starters and frozen on the day) and a small piece of haddock found lurking at the bottom of the freezer. Delicious! They'd be great without the sauce, but with it they're outstanding.

kiersanotz's picture

Wonderful! I used fresh herring (its what I had on hand) - the cakes were moist, held their shape, and full of flavor. Also added 2 Tbsp of bread & butter (sweet) pickles to the tartare sauce. Husband said they were possibly the best fish cakes he's ever had. This recipe is a keeper!

terijs's picture

This recipe is incorrectly tagged as vegetarian.

karenelizabeth61's picture

Don't really like fish but this dish is amazing, husband thought this was restaurant quality

mackemx's picture

Delicious! A very impressive recipe. I used a mix of cod, smoked haddock and salmon which worked really well - so well my (not normally keen on fish) teenage son devoured them!!

Ellis7's picture
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Made these last night, they were lovely, made with half smoked haddock, half cod. Did not put any egg, breadcrumbs on just cooked in shallow oil, outside all lovely and crispy. Will definitely be making more!

Elliegray's picture

This is a great recipe. I have a wheat free diet so coated the fish cakes in polenta instead of breadcrumbs and it worked perfectly! Will be making again soon

jennykw's picture

I made these fish cakes using basa fillets and smoke salmon. I omitted the tartare sauce because I didn't have all of the ingredients but used some mayo to bind together. I served them as a starter with soured cream mixed with some chopped parsley, chives and lemon juice.
They did take a lot longer than 30 mins but it was worth it it as they were yummy and would definitely make them again!!

clairemc28's picture
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These fish cakes were delicious! And also HUGE! I made some slight adjustments to the recipe. I used a mixed fish pack which contained salmon, haddock and smoked haddock. I hadn't read the recipe properly and decided to make a different sauce rather than the tartare, but as I was making the fish cakes realised I needed some tartare sauce to actually put in them! Consequently I wasn't prepared and didn't have any capers and so did not add them to the tartare sauce and it still tasted lovely. I served the fish cakes with a prawn cream sauce that I made myself using butter, cream, a little of the leftover fishy poaching milk and some prawns, really really nice.
I doubled the recipe as I was cooking for 6 and had two leftover which I put in the freezer for another day. Will absolutely be making them again, and again!

wombleemma's picture
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These were perfect! So light, and all of the flavours came through, I was really impressed and will be making these again and again!

wombleemma's picture
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These were perfect! So light, and all of the flavours came through, I was really impressed and will be making these again and again!

jacquelinedouglas's picture

Great, added tsp chopped dill to sauce and used half salmon half cod, needed more sauce in fish cake mixture but with great results

alice666's picture
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Prepared this dish many times and sometimes varied the type of fish. A combination of salmon and haddock works well, as does adding a little smokes haddock, which means you need less salt. I usually put some fresh dill in, when in season, to replace the chives. Great recipe!

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