I like the idea of fish cakes but until recently they often turned into fishy mash. I seem to have finally got the hang of it. There are a couple of things which I think combine to help. The first is adding a spoon of mayonnaise to the mash, making it more coherent than straight mashed potatoes. The second is the generic trick for breading things – always flour them before dipping them into the egg and then finally into the bread crumbs.
Fish, of the firm fleshed variety – I have used haddock, smoked haddock and pollock. Salmon would also work.
An equal amount of potatoes.
Herb of some sort – parsley is traditional, but I prefer a small amount of dill and some chives.
Aioli or mayonnaise with some chopped capers, grain mustard and chopped shallots added.
zest of either a lemon or a lime
Poach the fish in water with the bay leaves added. I poached them for about 5 minutes and then left them in the water to cook through.
Cook the potatoes in chunks, drain and put back in a hot heat to mash. This extra bit of heat with dry the mash out. Add a tablespoon of the flavoured mayo or aioli and the zest. Taste the mash and then season. Break the fish into pieces with your hands and mix into the potato.
Put some flour on a plate, beat the egg light and put it in a dish wide enough to fit the potato cakes and finally put the breadcrumbs on a plate. If your breadcrumbs are a little damp, stick them in a warm oven for a bit to make them crispy. When everything is ready, flour your hands.
Take a handful of the potato and fish mixture and shape in the flour. I find pressing quite hard helps keep the shape – you are aiming for fairly thick discs. Once it is floured, put in the egg, make sure it is well covered and then finally dip in the bread crumbs. Repeat for each cake in turn. Once they are shaped, put them in the fridge for at least an hour. I’ve been making these while younger kid naps so they have lefty of time to sit before tea time.
Shallow fry until the coating is crispy and the cakes are cooked through. Eat with more of the flavoured mayo or ketchup if you’re under 10.