I've always followed closely a number of regular columns in the BBC Good Food magazine. One of them is the 'Ultimate' series currently done by Angela Nilsen. Wherein she attempts to find or develop the ultimate the best recipe for our favourite dishes and desserts. That actually, is my objective, too. Sometimes I go to all sort of lengths to source out the ingredients or required cooking utensils just so I could do my 'ultimate' creation. This just underlines my keen interest in this column.
For this month's edition, she makes fish cakes. I love fish but often than not the fish cakes I find in the fish & chips around here or even in restaurants are chock-full of fillings and very little fish. A name change to 'fish-flavoured cakes' should be done to aptly describe them. Hence, I was heartened to discover Angela's recipe to be more fish and less fillings. I could clearly see whole flakes in it with just enough of the potatoes to keep it together. I also love the tartare-style sauce she made. Even my sauce-finicky husband roundly approved!
450 g skinned fillet of white fish (haddock, cod, etc.)
2/3 cup milk
2/3 cup water
2 bay leaves
350 g floury potatoes (Maris Piper, King Edward, etc.) - peeled and quartered
1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1 Tbsp finely chopped chives
1 Tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
85 g white breadcrumbs
1/4 cup oil for frying
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbsp capers - rinsed, drained, and roughly chopped
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp creamed horseradish
1 shallot - finely chopped
1 tsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- Mix all ingredients for the sauce. Set aside.
- Put the fillet of fish in a pan. Add the bay leaves, milk and water. Cover, bring to boil and simmer for 4 minutes. Remove from heat and leave covered for 10 minutes to finish cooking the fish. Drain the fish from the pan and cool completely on a plate.
- Put potatoes in a saucepan with just enough boiling water to cover them. Bring back to boil and simmer for about 10 minutes or until cooked but not broken up. Drain in a colander for one minute and then bring the potatoes back to the hot saucepan on the lowest heat. Let them dry out for 1 minute and mash the potatoes in the saucepan. This will result in a dry and fluffy mash. Take off the heat and mix in 1 Tbsp of the tartare-style sauce, lemon zest, chives, and parsley. Season well with salt and pepper.
- Flake the fish in big chunks into the mashed potatoes. Mix a few times just enough to combine them. Set aside.
- Beat egg in a shallow bowl. Put the breadcrumbs in a plate.
- Divide the potato mixture into 4 or 5. With floured hands, shape each piece into a ball then flatten them to form small cakes.
- Sit the cakes one by one in the egg bowl and spoon over egg to coat completely. Then sit the cakes in the breadcrumbs and pat sides and top to cover completely. Transfer on a plate, cover and chill for 30 minutes.
- Heat oil in a pan. Drop a little dry breadcrumbs in it, if it sizzles it is ready. Fry the fish cakes on medium heat for about 5 minutes on each side or until crisp and golden.
- Serve with the sauce and and lemon wedges.