Fish cake on a plate with watercress & lemon garnish

Ultimate fish cakes

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(112 ratings)

Prep: 25 mins Cook: 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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Ingredients

    For the tartare-style sauce

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

      Capers

      kay-per

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

    • 1 rounded tsp creamed horseradish
      Horseradish root on a wooden chopping board

      Horseradish

      hors rad-ish

      Horseradish root is larger than an ordinary radish, and has a hot, peppery flavour.

      It…

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

      Shallot

      shal-lot

      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
      Cod

      Cod

      kod

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

    • 2 bay leaves
    • 150ml milk

      Milk

      mill-k

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

    • 350g Maris Piper potatoes
      Potato

      Potato

      po-tate-oh

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

    • ½ tsp finely grated lemon zest
      Lemon

      Lemon

      le-mon

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

    • 1 tbsp flatleaf parsley, chopped
    • 1 tbsp snipped chives
    • 1 egg
      Eggs

      Egg

      egg

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

    • flour, for shaping
      Flour

      Flour

      fl-ow-er

      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
      Watercress

      Watercress

      wort-er-cress

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

    Method

    1. Mix together 125ml mayonnaise, 1 rounded tbsp roughly chopped capers, 1 rounded tsp creamed horseradish, 1 rounded tsp Dijon mustard, 1 small very finley chopped shallot and 1 tsp finely chopped flatleaf parsley. Set aside.

    2. Lay 450g skinned Icelandic cod or haddock fillet and 2 bay leaves in a frying pan. Pour over 150ml milk and 150ml water.

    3. 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.

    4. Meanwhile, peel and chop 350g Maris Piper potatoes into even-sized chunks. Put them in a saucepan and just cover with boiling water. Add a pinch of salt, bring back to the boil and simmer for 10 mins or until tender, but not broken up.

    5. 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.

    6. Tip the potatoes 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.

    7. Take off the heat and beat in 1 rounded tbsp of the sauce, then ½ tsp lemon zest, 1 tbsp chopped flatleaf parsley and 1 tbsp snipped chives.

    8. Season well with salt and pepper. The potato should have a good flavour, so taste and adjust to suit.

    9. Drain off liquid from the fish, grind some pepper over it, then flake it into big chunks into the pan of potatoes.

    10. Using your hands, gently lift the fish and potatoes together so they just mix. You'll only need a couple of turns, or the fish will break up too much. Put to one side and cool.

    11. Beat 1 egg on a large plate and lightly flour a board. Spread 85g fresh white breadcrumbs on a baking sheet. Divide the fish cake mixture into four.

    12. On the floured board, and with floured hands, carefully shape into four cakes, about 2.5cm thick. One by one, sit each cake in the egg, and brush over the top and sides so it is completely coated.

    13. 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).

    14. Heat 3-4 tbsp vegetable or sunflower 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.

    15. 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 to taste), lemon wedges for squeezing over and watercress.

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    Comments, questions and tips

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    zakksmum
    12th Apr, 2008
    Sorry, meant tartare sauce.
    zakksmum
    12th Apr, 2008
    I was having a freezer and pantry clearout so used shop bought tartar, dried breadcrumbs, and some haddock I'd bought super cheap and my boys loved them. I liked them too and I have an inbuilt hatred towards fish
    meriade
    8th Apr, 2008
    5.05
    Excellent! I decided to cook the fish in a pan with a splash of olive oil, and i finish put the cakes in the oven instead of the frying pan. Love this recipe. :)
    annataylor
    1st Apr, 2008
    im a chef and i put in some pancetta cubes and fried shallots i also poached my fish with garlic cloves and a split chilli with bay leaves and peppercorns with king prawns in aswell
    redguide
    31st Mar, 2008
    I dont often follow a recipe to the letter, Mostly because I dont always have the exact ingredients available at the time. I did pretty well this time, but i dont know what ;Mais Piper' potatoes are and I used Yukon Gold. The fishcalkes were rated 10/10 with the whole family. There are 6 of us. that make this recipe a keeper as far as I'm concerned. I made the Tartar sauce almost to the letter too. Yummy!
    mazmikeimi
    31st Mar, 2008
    5.05
    I made these fishcakes with my 4 year old daughter. We used haddock instead of the cod. The recipe was so straight forward and easy to do. My daughter loved making these and thought they tasted very yummy. This is definately a recipe that we will make again.
    giorgiasrecipes
    27th Mar, 2008
    Thanks nicky marr, I'm always looking for gluten free alternatives . Shall try this soon
    nickymarr
    27th Mar, 2008
    If you need to make these gluten free, use coarse grained polenta instead of the breadcrumbs - it goes really nice and crispy, and is less hassle than using gluten free breadcrumbs, which often need dried in the oven before they can be used. Polenta works really well as a coating for fried fish too.
    gadabout
    26th Mar, 2008
    Buying all my fresh fish from Morrisons, I know it has come from a sustainable source. I like the choice of potatoes in this recipe as I grow them myself, along with Pentland Javelin. Rate this recipe quite highly, my own variation would possibly have a generous shake of chilli flakes added to give a little extra bite.
    taniagiles
    24th Jan, 2008
    5.05
    Delicious and so easy, also I substitutued 250-300g uncooked prawns for 200g of the cod and added them at the end of stage 1 so they can cook in the heat of the milk, (if using tiger prawns cut them into smaller pieces).

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