Ultimate fish cakes

Ultimate fish cakes

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(71 ratings)

Prep: 25 mins - 30 mins

More effort

Serves 4
Angela Nilsen went in search of perfection in her quest to pack flavour and texture into fish cakes

Nutrition and extra info

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

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal359
  • fat12g
  • saturates2g
  • carbs36g
  • sugars3g
  • fibre2g
  • protein29g
  • salt0.7g
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    For the tartare-style sauce

    • 125ml mayonnaise
    • 1 rounded tbsp capers, roughly chopped (rinsed and drained if salted)



      Capers are the small flower buds of the Capparis shrub, which grows in the Mediterranean. As…

    • 1 rounded tsp creamed horseradish
    • 1 rounded tsp Dijon mustard
    • 1 small shallot, very finely chopped



      Related to the onion (as opposed to being a younger version of it), shallots grow in clusters at…

    • 1 tsp flatleaf parsley, finely chopped

    For the fish cakes

    • 450g skinned Icelandic cod or haddock fillet, from a sustainable source



      A popular mild-flavoured saltwater fish mainly found in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. Cod…

    • 2 bay leaves
    • 150ml milk



      One of the most widely used ingredients, milk is often referred to as a complete food. While cow…

    • 350g Maris Piper potatoes



      The world's favourite root vegetable, the potato comes in innumerable varieties. A member of…

    • ½ tsp finely grated lemon zest



      Oval in shape, with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile fruits…

    • 1 tbsp fresh white flatleaf parsley, chopped
    • 1 tbsp snipped chives
    • 1 egg



      The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition, packed with protein and a…

    • flour, for shaping



      Flour is a powdery ingredient usually made from grinding wheat, maize, rye, barley or rice. As…

    • 85g fresh white breadcrumbs, preferably a day or two old
    • 3-4 tbsp vegetable or sunflower oil, for shallow frying
      Sunflower oil

      Sunflower oil

      A variety of oils can be used for baking. Sunflower is the one we use most often at Good Food as…

    • lemon wedges and watercress, to serve



      With deep green leaves, and crisp, paler stems, watercress is related to mustard and is one of…


    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.

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    Comments, questions and tips

    Sign in or create your My Good Food account to join the discussion.
    1st Sep, 2013
    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!!
    25th Aug, 2013
    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!
    28th Jul, 2013
    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
    30th Jun, 2013
    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!!
    18th Feb, 2013
    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!
    27th Jan, 2013
    These were perfect! So light, and all of the flavours came through, I was really impressed and will be making these again and again!
    27th Jan, 2013
    These were perfect! So light, and all of the flavours came through, I was really impressed and will be making these again and again!
    14th Jan, 2013
    Great, added tsp chopped dill to sauce and used half salmon half cod, needed more sauce in fish cake mixture but with great results
    12th Jan, 2013
    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!
    26th Nov, 2012
    This is a wonderful recipe, did it with Haddock, tinned Salmon and tinned Crab. Added chilli as suggested and everyone loved them. Oh and used brown breadcrumbs This is added now to our family favourite


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