On a trip to Scotland I was once served salmon fishcakes by a priest who was using up what was left of a whole poached salmon from a wedding reception. What a revelation they were! For years after, often around Christmas time or Easter, I would snap up the smallest whole salmon when they were on special offer, cut it up and freeze it, and use at least half of it to make fishcakes, really big ones (hand-formed, as opposed to the roll method described here), with large, juicy flakes of griddled salmon in every bite.
Though the salmon fishcakes I'm making today are much, much humbler fare, they still aren't cheap. I reckon they cost out at about 50p each...but that's still about a tenth of the price that just one of those I described above would come to if no special offers were to hand. If you wanted, you could replace the tinned salmon with fresh smoked mackerel (a pack of three or four fillets should do it), or some frozen smoked haddock that you poach yourself. I often do this, and the difference in cost is negligible. Well, almost, in the case of smoked haddock.
Makes 9 - 10 fishcakes; serves 3, maybe 4 .
400 - 450g potatoes, peeled and cut into pieces
large can of salmon (approximately 400g)
white pepper or chilli powder
ground black pepper
1 - 2 teaspoons capers, chopped
a handful of parsley, finely chopped
or 1 teaspoon dried dill soaked on a little lemon juice
a small grating of nutmeg
To cook the fishcakes:
flour for dusting
1 egg, beaten
oil for shallow frying
Boil the potatoes in salted water for 20 or so minutes until absolutely tender; meanwhile drain the salmon and remove any skin and bones.
Drain the potatoes, mash them really well, then let them cool for a while before adding the salmon and whatever optional extras you choose.
Taste and adjust the seasonings; you want the mixture well seasoned. form the mixture into a roll and, when cold enough, refrigerate for an hour or three.
Working gently with the mixture, place the chilled roll on a floured board and slice it into 9 or 10 even slices. Use the flour on the board to lightly coat every surface.
Time to crumb your fishcakes. The easiest way is to set up a production line. First coat one of the cakes in the egg, then transfer it to a dish with a handful of crumbs at the bottom, sprinkling more breadcrumbs on top. One by one, proceed with the rest.
You may not use all of the breadcrumbs, but it's better to have too many than too few.
Fry the fishcakes (probably in two batches) over a medium heat for about 4 minutes each side. Gently swirl the oil in the saucepan occasionally so the sides of the fishcakes get some cooking as well.
Drain on kitchen towel and serve immediately with lemon wedges to squeeze. I almost always make a tartare sauce from mayonnaise, chopped capers, and a bit of finely chopped gherkin.
My cucumber salad and mushrooms a la Grecque also make great accompaniments.
Any questions? You can use the comments form at the bottom of the page.
Did you know?
You'll find recipes at the back of all the books in the Send for Octavius Guy series: