This is a bit of a prep-in-the-daytime-then-fry-up-when-you’re-ready job. The ingredients all seem overpoweringly strong when you’re chopping them but the finished result is a really delicious and delicate flavour. I bought ready made breadcrumbs because I have neither a blender nor the inclination to make my own.
250g white fish (haddock, pollack or whiting – try to avoid fish that are on the endangered list such as cod or halibut)
1 garlic clove, smashed
1 small onion, quartered
1 celery stick, roughly chopped
2 bay leaves
6 black peppercorns
For the filling:
250g-300g buttery mashed potato (floury baking potatoes such as King Edwards or Desiree are best)
Olive oil and butter
2 onions, finely chopped
A sprig of fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
2-3 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 tbsp finely chopped gherkins (about 3 or 4 small gherkins)
1 tbsp finely chopped capers
Zest of 1 lemon, finely chopped
1 egg yolk (try to keep the egg white for something else, such as meringues. Egg whites do freeze well.)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the coating:
1 egg, beaten
Poach the fish in the milk with the poaching ingredients for about 10 minutes, and then set aside to cool. When cool, drain. (You can keep the poaching liquid for something else, perhaps making a fishy sauce.)
Add a trickle of olive oil and a small knob of butter to a frying pan over a medium heat. Once this has melted add the onions salt, pepper, thyme and bay leaves and cover with a lid. Cook over a low heat for about 10 minutes – the onion should be soft, but not brown.Pick the bay leaves out of the mixture.
Mix the onion mixture with the mashed potato and leave to cool.
Add the parsley, gherkins, capers, lemon zest, flaked fish and egg yolk and stir well to combine. Season with a little more salt and pepper.
Create the fishcakes by moulding balls of the mixture (about 70g) and flattening them out. At this stage I would then put them in the fridge to firm up for about 30 minutes.
Dip each fishcake in flour, beaten egg and breadcrumbs. You can either deep fry in vegetable oil (about 180C) for about 3 to 4 minutes until golden brown. However, I like to shallow fry mine for about 1 to 2 minutes on each side and then move to the oven (at about 160C) for another 10 to 15 minutes as they fluff up a bit in the oven.
Serve with a tartare sauce and peas, or with a spicy tomato sauce.
Image found here