February 19th, 2011
Fish cakes are traditionally made with fish like cod and haddock, but I see no reason why you can’t use any white fish, such as pollock or coley – it’s cheaper than cod and in far greater supply. I used hake, because I had some in the freezer and it proved to be an excellent choice.
Fish Cake recipe:
half a pound of white fish (hake is quite good because it doesn’t have lots of little bones)
5 small to medium potatoes (I used désirée)
a quarter of a pint of milk
2 bay leaves
8 black pepper corns
a blade of mace or sprinkle of powdered mace
4 pieces of garlic (peeled and bruised)
1 teaspoon of chopped parsley
2 teaspoons of chopped spring onions (or chives)
anchovy paste (to taste)
breadcrumbs (home made)
crushed sea salt and cracked black pepper
Put you fish into a small saucepan and pour in the milk – there’s no need to use gallons, just bring the milk up to the top of the fish. Add the black pepper corns, bay leaves, a little mace, 2 pieces of garlic and a teaspoonful of chopped spring onion. Bring the milk to the boil, simmer for a couple of minutes and then, with the lid on, turn off the heat and let the fish poach gently for ten minutes or so.
In the meantime, peel the potatoes and boil them as normal for mashed potato – I added the other two pieces of garlic for some extra flavour.
When the fish is done, remove it from the milk and allow it to cool. Keep the milk for the mashed potato. Once the potato has cooked, drain (you can leave the garlic in) and mash gently with a fork. Mix in the second teaspoon of spring onions and the parsley. Slowly pour in some of the milk, but don’t use too much or the potato will get too wet – this requires personal judgement – you want the potato to have a normal mash consistency. Next, separate the egg white and yolk – put the yolk into the potato and stir it in, keep the white for the breadcrumb stage. Sprinkle in some salt and pepper to taste, before flaking the fish into the potato. Stir the fish into the mash and squirt in a little anchovy paste – this adds a little extra fish flavour. Don’t overdo the anchovy paste, but do taste the mixture and add a little more if necessary.
When the fish and potato is mixed together, get three bowls ready, one containing a few handfuls of flour, next the beaten egg white (you might need a second egg, in which case beat that in too) and finally one containing a few handfuls of breadcrumbs. Make sure you have lots of flour and breadcrumbs to hand. Rub your hands in flour and form about six fish cakes – each needs a good coating of flour. Dip the floured fish cakes into the beaten egg, making sure they are completely wet. Finally roll the cakes in the breadcrumbs to ensure they gets a good coating. When done, put the fish cakes on a plate, cover it and put it into the fridge for half an hour before frying – this stops the fish cakes breaking up in the oil.
When the fish cakes have been suitable chilled, heat up some olive oil (about a quarter of an inch deep) in a frying pan until it smokes. Place your fish cakes in the oil – you will probably need to cook them for about 4 minutes per side or until golden brown. Drain the fish cakes briefly on some kitchen paper.
Serve with lemon wedges and home made allioli. Don’t confuse these with the miserable things they served at school – these really are to die for!