I’m a big fan of salmon but struggle to find ways to serve it in interesting ways. Enter these basic crispy salmon fish cakes. They aren’t posh, but they’re quick and easy to make and full of subtle flavours.
Fish cakes are another one of those dishes, just like fish pie, that grab my attention on a pub menu.
The only thing is, in recent years fish cakes on menus when you eat out are usually a bit fancy. Typically they’ll be Thai fish cakes. Don’t get me wrong, these are delicious and I’d order them in a heartbeat, but whatever happened to plain old fish cakes – just fish and potato with a few flavourings and a lovely crispy exterior?
The sort of fish cakes that you used to be able to order from fish and chip shops here in the UK. Maybe you still can – I don’t know!
So this is the sort of fish cake I wanted to recreate for today’s recipe. Well, actually I’m fibbing to you slightly because the most basic fish cakes I’ve eaten have been made with a simple white fish like cod or haddock (or whatever white fish is commonly available).
I’ve used salmon of course, but that doesn’t mean you have to. Any kind of fish at all will do, even tinned. In fact, the next time I make these I’m definitely going to use tinned salmon because I have a tiny bit of fresh salmon left over in the freezer but not enough to make this recipe again. Smoked fish would work brilliantly – mmmm, all that flavour!
Because these are so simple, what I was aiming for was a recipe with a nice ratio of salmon to potato i.e. not too much potato, and some nice additions that don’t overshadow the delicately-flavoured fish.
So all I add into these (apart from the fish and potato) is a bit of lemon zest, some chopped parsley, mustard, squashed peas, some chili flakes and sharp cheese to give a bit of extra oomph, and a bit of mayonnaise to bind everything together.
After shaping the mixture into fish cakes, all you do is roll in panko breadcrumbs (or any breadcrumbs really) and pan fry in a little oil for 5 minutes or so on each side.
We love eating these with coleslaw and a fresh salad on the side. That’s really all they need. They freeze brilliantly too. Just freeze between layers of baking paper in a Tupperware after adding the breadcrumbs. When you want to eat them, defrost in separate layers and cook as you would from fresh.
So do you think you’d enjoy a basic fish cake like this? What other kinds have you tried?
Serves: makes 8 to 10 fishcakes
- 400 grams / 14 ounces potatoes, peeled and diced (about 4 smallish potatoes)
- 70 grams / 2.5 ounces frozen peas
- a generous knob of butter (about a tablespoon)
- 250 grams / 9 ounces salmon (I used 3 portioned fillets)
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon mustard
- a handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
- a handful of cheese (I used a sharp cheddar but any strong cheese works e.g. parmesan)
- large pinch chili flakes (optional)
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- salt and pepper
- about 3 tablespoons flour
- 1 egg, whisked
- 4 to 5 tablespoons breadcrumbs (I used Japanese panko, but any work)
- Cook the potatoes in salted boiling water until tender (about 15 to 20 minutes). Add the peas for the last few minutes. Drain then return to the pan and lightly mash with the butter (I prefer to leave the potato a bit ‘chunky’). Tip into a large bowl.
- Meanwhile, put the salmon in a microwavable dish with 100ml milk, then cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 2 minutes or until just cooked.
- Flake the salmon into the bowl with the potato, then add the lemon zest, mustard, parsley, cheese, chili flakes, and mayonnaise. Add a generous grinding of salt and pepper and mix well.
- Cool the mixture for a while in the fridge (half an hour is fine), then take golfball-sized amounts of mixture and shape into 8 to 10 fish cakes.
- To coat the fish cakes, put the flour, egg and breadcrumbs in separate dishes, then roll the fishcakes first in the flour, then in the egg and lastly in the breadcrumbs. Place on a plate or baking tray ready to cook.
- Heat up a good drizzle of oil in a frying pan, then pan fry the fishcakes for about 5 minutes on each side or until golden and crispy. Serve immediately.
I used salmon but any fish would work. I think smoked fish would work especially well. You could even use tinned fish (which would probably be cheaper!).
Don't waste the milk you cook the fish in! Freeze it and use it for the sauce when you make this fish pie!
Why not save this to your seafood board for later? 🙂
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