This recipe is so versatile as you can make mini-fish cakes or patties for kids or flavour it up for adults.
500g baking potatoes or sweet potato
1 leek or large brown onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp butter, plus 2 tbsp for frying
200g frozen peas
300g firm white fish, smoked fish is also great
4 spring onions, chopped (or chives …or both)1 tbsp
fresh thyme, ½ dried thyme. I love lemon thyme in this recipe
2 tbsp grated parmesan
Salt and black pepper
1 tbsp olive oil, for frying
Additions for adult version
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 chilli, seeded and chopped fine
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
For the coating
4 tbsp plain flour
2 free range eggs, beaten with a dash of milk
8 tbsp fine dried crumbs or polenta
Wash the potatoes well, but leave the skins on and put in a pan. Cover with cold salted water, bring to a simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked through.
While the potatoes are boiling, cook the leek/onion in a shallow pan in the butter for about 5 minutes, until soft. Add the peas and cook for another 5 minutes. Tip into a bowl and mash roughly so some of the peas break up.
Drain the potatoes well. Allow them to cool a little in a colander so that the excess moisture escapes as steam. When you can handle the potatoes, remove the skin with a small knife – it should scrape off easily.
Pour the milk into the same pan that you used for the leek/onion, thyme, (aduly flavours if using) and place the fish fillets in the milk. Bring to a simmer, then turn the fish over when the milk comes up to the boil. Turn down the heat and cook for a further minute before removing from the heat.
Mash the potatoes roughly, or pass them through a potato ricer. Add the pea mix.
Flake the fish flesh into the potato-pea mix along with 2 tbsp of the cooking milk. Err on the side of a drier mix to ensure that the cakes do not collapse when you fry them.
Add the spring onions and parmesan, then fold all the ingredients together with a spoon. Season well with salt and pepper.
Allow the mix to cool thoroughly and shape into small balls or fishcakes with floured hands – they can be as big or as small as you like.
Arrange the coating ingredients in 3 separate bowls, starting with flour, then the egg-milk mix and finally the breadcrumbs.
Coat the first cake or ball in the flour, then transfer to the egg mix and finally, coat carefully in breadcrumbs or polenta. Place the finished fishcakes on a tray and refrigerate until needed. Make sure they are good and cold. This will also stop them collapsing.
To cook heat up the butter and oil in a large shallow frying pan. Having a mix of butter and oil will stop the butter burning. Carefully place each cake in the pan and fry over a medium heat for 3 minutes on each side. They can be served straight away or transferred to a low oven until serving.
I serve with a sweet chilli sauce. Sweet and sour sauce is also great.