When we were planning our weekly meals we decided to have some smoked haddock fishcakes just like these ones we made a while ago – they make a perfect light meal that feels a little bit special. But Sainsburys didn’t have any undyed smoked haddock for offer online so we had to change plans, and we’re so glad we did because it gave us the chance to come up with these little beauties! These don’t come with a sauce unlike the smoked haddock ones so are even lighter and would make a great spring or summer dish – give them a try as the weather warms up.
- 1 large potato, peeled and diced
- 1 tsp butter
- 1 heaped tsp of wholegrain mustard
- 2 spring onions, finely diced
- A small bundle of chives, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp capers, roughly chopped (optional)
- 60g/1 small pack of smoked salmon, chopped/torn into bitesize pieces
Start by boiling the potato until tender and then drain. Mash this with the butter and mustard – give it a really good mashing so it’s nice and smooth. Then just mix in the rest of the ingredients and season! We only used a tiny bit of salt as the salmon is salty but put plenty of black pepper.
Shape the mixture into little patties (we did 2 per person) and pop into the fridge to chill for at least 20 minutes.
As everything in the cakes is cooked they just need to get a nice golden colour so coat lightly in flour and shallow fry for a couple of minutes per side – try not to turn them too much as they are quite delicate. Serve as we did, we wilted spinach and a wedge of lemon or with a simple green salad.
Prepare yourselves… this recipe gets a little bit cheffy. We know our usual style is bang it all in a roasting dish and then, 1 hour later, dish yourself up a plate of goodness but sometimes you want to fancy things up a bit. This makes a lovely smaller dinner for two, or would make a beautiful starter if you only served 1 fishcake per person. The fishcakes themselves are a straight steal from Nigel Slater but we’ve gone and done one better (sorry Nige!) and created a beautiful smoky white sauce to serve with them. So next time you have a certain someone to impress, or just fancy gettin’ cheffy with it give these a go!
- 400g floury white potatoes (about 1 large potato)
- 400g leeks, finely sliced
- 3 tbsp butter
- 300g undyed smoked haddock fillet
- 250ml milk
- 2 bay leaves
- 5-6 peppercorns
- Olive oil
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- Wilted spinach to serve
Cut the potato into chunks and cook in boiling water for around 10-15 minutes or until soft. Heat 1 tsp of the butter in a frying pan and add the leeks, slowly sweat down and cook until really soft and sweet. Once the potato is cooked drain it and then place in a bowl to cool for a few minutes. Bring the milk to the point of steaming in a small pan with the bay leaves and the peppercorns and then add the smoked haddock, cut it into several pieces to make sure it fits in and is covered by the milk. Place a lid on this, let the milk come to the boil and then turn the heat off and let it sit for 10 minutes, the haddock will be perfectly cooked and flaky at this point.Take the haddock out and leave until cool enough to handle on a board. Do not throw away the milk. This is where we and Nigel part ways, he makes no mention of the milk but we thought we couldn’t throw away this little goldmine of flavour so hang on to it, you’ll need it later. Strain it into a jug to remove the bay leaves, peppercorn and any little flakes of fish that have escaped.
Crush the slightly cooled potatoes with a fork until there are no large lumps remaining but don’t worry about getting them perfectly smooth, these fishcakes are rustic and rough textured. Mix in half of the leeks and flake the fish in, discarding the skin. Shape into patties (we did 4 but you could make them smaller or bigger as you like) and set aside.
Heat most of the remaining butter (about 2 tbsp) in the pan you cooked the fish in (give it a quick wipe with a bit of kitchen roll) and once bubbling add an equal amount of plain flour to create a roux. Cook this for a couple of minutes to get rid of the floury taste and then start to add the milk that you saved earlier. Add this bit by bit, whisking well in between until all of it has been added. Keep this over a low heat stirring regularly to thicken.
Now just fry your fishcakes – everything in them is already cooked so they just need a bit of colour on the outside. Heat the remaining butter with a drizzle of olive oil in a frying pan (we used the one we used to cook the leeks earlier to save on washing up!) and when hot add the fishcakes. They will take a couple of minutes on each side over a medium heat. Try not to mess around with them and turn them too much, they are fairly fragile so avoid flipping them as much as possible.
Once they are golden pop a bit of wilted spinach on a plate and top with the remaining leeks and a dollop of the thickened white sauce. Place your fishcakes on and drizzle over the rest of the sauce. Serve with a glass of white wine and Instagram your cheffy creation!