Eating a fishcake can vary from being a truly amazing experience to a desperately dull affair. Normally when I offer this on a menu I call it a ‘Japanese style’ fish cake to make it sound a little more exotic and draw attention away from our pre-conceptions regarding fishcakes.
This for sure is one of my most requested recipes. It moves away from the normal ratio of fish to potato being 50:50 bringing the fish content to 80:20. This enriches the texture and flavor giving it a sense of luxury as oppose to a cheap potato cake. The sweet potato lightens the cake up as well as lending to the seasoning, giving it an original feel and look.
It might appear that there is a lot of direction this is just so that every eventuality in completing this recipe is covered.
Ingredients (Makes 6)
750g of salmon and any white fish (or just salmon is fine)
250g cooked and peeled sweet potato
Zest and juice of 2 lemons
10g green peppercorns (optional)
2 large spring onions
2 red chillies de-seeded
100g fine polenta and sesame seeds (50:50)
250g natural yoghurt
25g shallots or spring onions
Juice of one lemon
These fishcakes need a minimum of 6 hours in the fridge before cooking, or even overnight, so make you sure you make them up in advance.
Start by cooking off the sweet-potatoes in boiling water. Carry on with the instructions below then when they are cooked take them off the heat and strain off the water.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Place the fish into a oven dish and cover with water. Slice one of the lemons and lay them over the fish. Put the tray into the oven and let the fish poach for 15 minutes. Remove the fish from the dish and let it cool on a large plate and put to one side. Peel the cooked sweet potatoes and break up into a large bowl.
Chop the gherkins as small as you can be bothered. De-seed the red chilies and cut into small squares. Run a knife over the capers , don’t chop them too much. Slice the spring onions into thin rings. Roughly chop the dill, chop the parsley a bit finer. Zest the other lemon into the mix and add half of the lemon juice. Season with Maldon and black pepper. Mix the ingredients together (excluding the fish). The most effective way to do this is by using your hands to get the ingredients thoroughly mixed through the potato. If you don´t like using your hands a wooden spoon will do the job.
Flake and break up the fish removing bones and anything that doesn’t look right (for example I personally don’t like the look of brown meat on the salmon. There is nothing wrong with it, I don’t like it so I scrape it off). When you have done that fold the fish into the sweet potato. When all is even break off a bit and taste it. You want to be able to taste the lemon and it could very well need a bit more salt.
Once the mix is ready divide it evenly into 6 pieces (if you have a scales its easier to weigh them so they are the same, each one should be 175g) wet your hands with water and roll the portions into balls. Into a bowl put the polenta and sesame seeds and mix. Roll each fishcake thoroughly through the polenta and sesame seed mix. If you have a mould run a tiny bit of oil around the inside. (A mould being a metal or plastic bottomless ring.) Drop the rolled ball into the mould which is on a plate and press into shape, repeat with the other balls. If you don’t have a mould then take the rolled ball onto a board and press it flat with the palm of your hand. With a fish slice transfer to a plate. The fishcakes will need to go into the fridge at this point.
To make the tartare sauce chop the gherkins into small cubes and the shallots or spring onions even smaller. Roughly chop the capers, chop the parsley as fine as you can. Dry off herbs with a paper towel. Squeeze in the lemon juice into the mix, season and add the finely chopped parsley. Mix well, cover and put into fridge before serving.
Line a flat oven tray with baking parchment and turn the oven up to 200. This is to heat the fishcakes through once they have been sealed in the frying pan. Take your frying pan and you will need to put minimum 50ml of sunflower oil into it. Heat the oil and lay the cakes into the pan. Once the bottom has a nice golden colour turn them over and repeat the same on the other side. Put the fishcakes onto the baking tray and put into the oven for around 15 minutes, until completely heated through. You can normally smell them once they are ready.
Serving suggestions; as there is sweet potato in the cake, you don´t need to serve another carbohydrate with them. Here I have dressed green beans with olive oil, roasted cherry tomatoes and fresh mint. Any mixed salad or green vegetables will work.