If you like crab cakes I think that you will like these fish and potato cakes. They can be made with just about any good firm fish fillets, and they are combined with some spicy mashed potatoes to produce a wonderful flavor.
We will be frying these up in a skillet; however, if you would like to try baking them, do one thing… substitute the fresh bread crumbs with panko and you should not have a problem.
Chef’s Note: Maris Piper (Solanum tuberosum “Maris Piper”) is an Irish potato bred by Northern Ireland grower John Clarke. It is the most popular potato in the United Kingdom, but is seldom sold in the U.S. And that’s sad because it’s a great potato for this dish, plus they make excellent chips.
Add the potatoes to a pot of salted water, and boil with the skins on until tender.
Chef’s Tip: To check for doneness, insert a paring knife, or fork into the potato; it should go in with little resistance.
Remove from the water, and allow the potatoes to cool, and remove the skins (they should just slide off). Place the skinned potatoes into a large bowl and mash.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the onion, chili (if using), and ginger, and then cook for 3 minutes. Add the dijon mustard, and stir for an additional 2 minutes. The onions should be nice and softened by this time.
Add the onion mixture to the mashed potatoes, and then add the Old Bay, dill, lemon zest, salt and pepper, to taste, and mix together. Finally add in the egg, and thoroughly combine.
Place the fish in a large frying pan, and add the peppercorns and bay leaves.
Cover with the milk, and add additional water to cover the fish.
Bring up to a slow simmer, and allow the fish to simmer, covered for 3 or 4 minutes.
Take off the heat, and allow the pan to sit an additional 10 minutes, covered, to finish cooking the fish.
Remove out of the milk, and allow the fish to cool slightly. Then use your hands to break them into medium-sized flakes.
Add 2 or 3 tablespoons of the poaching liquid to the potato mixture, and combine.
Add the flaked fish to the potato mixture, and gently combine.
Chef’s Note: It’s okay, if the fish breaks up… I’ve actually mixed all the ingredients together using my food processor fitted with an S-blade.
Shape the mixture into patties about 3.5 inches wide by 1 inch tall.
Dust each of the fish cakes with flour, dip into the egg, and finally coat with the breadcrumbs.
Chef’s Tip: The easiest way to make fresh bread crumbs is to take the bread, cut off the crusts, and give them a couple of pulses in a food processor, fitted with an S-blade.
Prep Tip: When I’m making these for a catering event, or for a gathering of friends and family, I usually make these in the morning, and let them sit in my prep fridge all day. That way, I’m ready to go at dinnertime.
COOKING THE FISH CAKES
Add the remaining oil to a frying pan, set over medium heat. Cook the fishcakes in batches until they are nice and brown, about 6 to 8 minutes per side.
Chef’s Tip: If you are doing these in batches, set your oven to a low setting, and put the cooked ones in the oven on a paper towel lined sheet, to keep them warm while the others are cooking. And the paper towels will have the added effect of helping to drain off any additional oil from frying.
Serving Tip: Traditionally, fishcakes are served with mustard pickles, but in keeping with the spicy nature of these, may I suggest a mild horseradish like this one: A Kinder, Gentler Horseradish Sauce
And perhaps some sautéed greens on the side.