BASIC FISHCAKE RECIPE
Fishcakes are always knocking in the back of my freezer for a handy lunch or dinner option. You bang them into the oven, make a big green salad with lots of different kinds of allium and maybe some roasted peppers and you have the makings of a superb meal.
Fishcakes are one of these dishes that you can really stretch. A little fish will go a long way and by adding other bits you can bulk them up a bit. But more on that further down.
Some things you need to think about when you want to make your fishcakes: the fish, the binding and the flavours. The rest is just assembly work.
The fish needs to be flaky but depending on the fish you end up using, you may well have to be fairly light fingered and delicate of hand. Trout and cod both flake but behave differently under pressure. When you use a fork to flake trout, the flakes separate but remain whole whereas cod my just turn to a big white mush and you don’t want that either.
Will you use fresh fish or tinned fish? I’m going to go out on a limb and recommend tinned fish. This is meant to be convenient food if not fast food. Just drain and flake and you’re good to go. If you’re using fresh fish you will need to poach it or oven bake it (a papillotte job would be ideal there) first.
The base of the fishcake needs a bulking agent and a binding agent. The bulking agent can consist of mashed potatoes, mashed pulses, bread crumbs or even sticky rice. You could go for something like grated courgettes and flour as a bulking agent too. Some cooked mashed broccoli and cauliflower will also make an interesting base. Basically, your imagination is the only thing stopping you from getting pretty freaky with your fishcakes.
Here, just thing big and bold, lots of fresh herbs, spices, chili sauces, mustard and dill if you want to keep it really simple, different types of alliums for taste and crunch (scallions, shallots, garlic, wild garlic…), pops of freshness like peas or sweet corn. Grated halloumi or some bits of feta could be good in there too depending on what kind of fish you went for.
My fishcakes as pictured above were made with a packet of smoked mackerel, I had bought in Lidl. They are fished off the coast of Ireland and packaged in Killybegs and they are as Irish as they come. I like to keep a packet in the fridge. I used mashed potatoes, eggs, garlic, scallions, dill, parsley, hot sauce, korean chili flakes and lemon zest. It smelled fresh and tasted excellent.
In a bowl, gently flake your fish and add your bulking agent. In terms of quantities, you will need one part fish and 2 part bulking agent. So if you use one cup of fish you will want 2 cups of mashed potatoes.
Mix them together gently and add 2 eggs and the rest of your ingredients. Once it’s all nicely mixed, cover the bowl and place it in the refrigerator.
After an hour, scoop a tablespoon worth of mixture and shape it into a ball then flatten it. Coon on a medium heat until both sides are nicely golden. If you take your time, you should cook the whole mixture in about 20 or 25 minutes.
Once the first few ones are cooked, keep them warm under a sheet of tin foil.
There are two tricks to the whole thing, first is to let the mixture cool in the fridge so that it becomes first. This means the fishcakes will retain their shape while they cook ( I didn’t take the time to do that with the ones pictures above and it shows) and secondly, take your time to cook them gently, this will allow them to get golden rather than burn (again the photo in this blog post was not my favourite work but with still happily ate them).
Finally, these were delicious zapped in the microwave and served in a pita pocket with salad, mayo and sriracha.