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Recipe: Five-step fish cakes

BY Rachel Walker

1st Jan 2015 Recipes

Recipe: Five-step fish cakes
It's easy to pick up a pack of fishcakes at most supermarkets, but shop-bought aren’t a scratch on home-made.
With summer holidays fast approaching, this is a good recipe to have up your sleeve. Mixing and shaping fishcakes is a great kitchen activity to do with children.
What’s more, if you double the recipe then you can freeze half—so you’ve got a midweek meal ready to go. Serves 4. 


  • 600g potatoes
  • 400g smoked, undyed haddock
  • 2tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • ½ lemon, zested
  • 1tsp ground pepper
  • 1tsp mustard (optional)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 4tbsp flour
  • 150g breadcrumbs
  • 25g butter


  1. Peel the potatoes and cut them into small, even-sized chunks. Put them in a pan of boiling water with a good pinch of salt and cook for 10 minutes. Drain into a colander, and leave them steam-dry for a minute then tip into a mixing bowl and roughly mash.
  2. Meanwhile, put the smoked haddock into a deep frying pan or small saucepan. Pour over enough water so it’s just covered and then bring it to a simmer. Poach the fillets for 3–5 minutes. Drain, pull off any skin and then flake big chunks of the fish into the mixing bowl of mash.
  3. Add the parsley, lemon zest, pepper, mustard (optional) and 2–3tbsp of the beaten eggs to the mix. Use your hands o combine, but don’t overwork. The mixture should be robust—not sloppy. Divide mixture into six balls, and then flatten into thick burger patty shapes.
  4. Tip the remaining egg into one deep saucer or shallow bowl. Tip the flour into another, and breadcrumbs into a third. Work methodically—lightly coating each fishcake in flour, dusting off any excess. Next, dip them in the egg and then coat in breadcrumbs. Put the fishcakes on a lined tray, and then refrigerate for 20 minutes. (If you’re freezing fishcakes, do so at this point.)
  5. Heat the butter in a frying pan. When it starts to foam, swirl it round and then place the fish cakes in the pan (in batches, if needed). Leave them to cook for 5 minutes—without poking or moving them. Use a fish slice to confidently flip each one and cook for another 5 minutes. Serve with a dressed watercress salad and some mayonnaise.

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