These salmon fish cakes are a kind of a blank canvas. Mash potatoes and peas together then add salmon, lemon zest, and whichever herbs you like. They aren’t posh, but they’re a delicious quick and easy pantry meal full of subtle flavours.
Fish cakes are one of those dishes, just like fish pie, that grab my attention on a menu.
The only thing is, in recent years fish cakes on menus are usually fancy. Typically they’re Thai fish cakes. These are delicious and I 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?
Use a cheaper fish if you like… or even canned fish!
So this is the sort of fish cake I wanted to recreate.
I’ve used salmon of course, but that doesn’t mean you have to. Any kind of fish will do.
Smoked fish would work brilliantly, or even canned/tinned tuna.
Ingredients in these simple fishcakes
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 is:
- fish and boiled, squished potato
- frozen peas (boiled with the potato for the last few minutes)
- lemon zest
- chopped parsley or other fresh herbs (I like basil and oregano if I have it)
- chili flakes (purely optional)
- sharp cheese
- mayonnaise (to bind everything together)
How to make them step-by-step
- The first thing you do is boil potatoes and peas together, then mash with butter. This forms the base of your fish cakes.
- Then you add the fish.
- If you need to cook the fish, the easiest way to do this is to microwave it in milk.
- Flake the fish into the potato mixture!
- Add some flavours. In my recipe I’ve included lemon zest, fresh herbs (whichever you have, really), mustard and a handful of tasty cheese.
- I add a few chili flakes to an ‘adult version’, skip it for a kids’ version!
- After shaping the mixture into fish cakes, roll in panko breadcrumbs (or any breadcrumbs really) and pan fry until crispy.
Delicious. And so easy.
Pro tip: Add some mayonnaise to the mixture to help bind it together. Now the fish cakes are easier to shape and they hold together well while cooking.
How to serve fish cakes… and how to freeze them
We love eating these with coleslaw and a fresh salad on the side. That’s really all they need.
Fishcakes freeze brilliantly too. Just freeze between layers of baking paper in a storage container with a lid after adding the breadcrumbs.
When you want to eat them, defrost in separate layers and cook as you would from fresh.
More easy fish dinners
- Liking the fishy vibe in this post? This lemon butter salmon with potatoes and asparagus is another popular recipe on the blog. If asparagus is out of season, just substitute with broccoli!
- Want even more fish recipes? You have to try this Greek baked fish!
- This easy tuna salad is a great quick and easy dinner for when it’s too hot to turn on the oven. We make this again and again and it never disappoints!
- Crispy fish pie! (Just trust me on this one – it’s easy and delicious!)
- This jerk salmon with yogurt potatoes is the wild card recipe – a little bit different, but a really delicious way to serve salmon, especially in the summer.
- Last but not least, this lemony tuna spaghetti is a delicious quick and easy pantry meal that’s on the table in just 20 minutes.
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Basic crispy salmon fish cakes
Ingredients (UK/Australia? Click below for grams/ml)
for the fish cakes
- 14 ounces potatoes peeled and diced (about 4 smallish potatoes)
- ½ cup peas frozen (2½ ounces)
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 9 ounces salmon I used 3 portioned fillets (or use another kind of fish, or canned/tinned salmon or tuna)
- 1 lemon (zest & squeeze juice over to serve)
- 2 teaspoons mustard any type
- 1 handful parsley fresh & finely chopped (or use other fresh herbs such as basil and oregano)
- 1 handful grated cheese about an ounce (I used a sharp cheddar but any strong cheese works e.g. parmesan)
- 1 pinch chili flakes optional
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- salt and pepper
for the crispy coating
- 3 tablespoons flour (roughly)
- 1 egg whisked
- 4 tablespoons breadcrumbs (roughly) I used Japanese panko, but any work
- Cook the potatoes in salted boiling water until tender (about 15 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 (a thicker piece of fish might need a minute or 2 longer).
- Flake the salmon into the bowl with the potato, then add the lemon zest, mustard, fresh herbs, 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.