Made well, fishcakes are one of the most delicious meals on the planet. Simultaneously soft and crunchy, mellow yet full of flavour. Made poorly, they can be flabby, soggy, oily and tasteless. It’s obviously best to ensure that they are made well then, and the best starting point is a great recipe.
This recipe was inspired by the Michelin-starred Tom Kerridge, so as you would expect they are full of flavour but do involve a fair bit of work. As a result these are best made on an afternoon when you haven’t much else to do, though I guarantee that once you have found the time to make them you will be yearning to repeat the experience.
Most fishcake recipes involve shallow frying, I have often found though that you need high heat to avoid them getting oily, but then the breadcrumbs tend to burn before the middle of the fishcake is cooked. Far better to bake them, it keeps the breadcrumbs crunchy, ensures even cooking and it also gives you a wider margin for error. It also means they are that much lower in fat and therefore even healthier than they already are.
RECIPE – makes 6, feeds 3 people easily
3 or 4 baking potatoes – you will need 350g of potato flesh
350g salmon fillets
2 tbsp capers, drained
2 tbsp dill, chopped
2 tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 tbsp English mustard powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
finely grated zest of a lemon
100g smoked salmon, chopped
150g plain flour
2 eggs, beaten
150g panko breadcrumbs
Heat the oven to 200C/ 180C fan /Gas 6. Bake the potatoes for between 60 and 90 minutes until soft. Allow them to cool, and when they are cool enough to handle, cut them in half and scoop out the flesh. Pass the flesh through a potato ricer or just mash it, without adding any butter or liquids. Weigh out 350g of the flesh and set aside for now.
|*Tip: When you make mashed potato, make as much as you can (far more than you will need) and freeze the excess. It freezes well and it is always useful to have some mash ready-made for fishcakes, or toppings for fish pie or shepherd’s pie.|
Season the salmon, wrap it in kitchen foil and place on a baking sheet then roast for 8-10 minutes until just cooked and the salmon flakes easily. Set aside.
Put the potato in a large bowl, then add the capers, dill, parsley, mustard powder, cayenne pepper, salt and lemon zest, then mix in the smoked salmon. Mix thoroughly, then flake the salmon fillets into the mix and fold in.
Divide the mixture into 6 balls, then shape them into cakes. Cover with cling film and put into the fridge to chill for at least an hour.
When ready to cook, place the flour, eggs and panko breadcrumbs each into an individual deep plate. One by one, coat the fishcakes with flour, egg and finally the breadcrumbs. You can use regular breadcrumbs here, easily made by putting stale bread into a food processor and blitzing until crumbed, but be careful not to go too far or you will end up with dust. Panko breadcrumbs are far superior, being dry and crunchy and bringing a lovely textural difference to the finished fishcake.
Place the coated fishcakes on a baking sheet, and bake at 200C/ 180C fan /Gas 6 for approximately ten minutes, or until the breadcrumbs are golden brown and beginning to char.
The empty baked potato skins can be deep fried and served as a starter with sour cream and chives, or your favourite crispy skin dips and fillings.