Fishcakes are such a brilliant thing. Filling and tasty they are great for a homely midweek dinner, or they can be served as a starter at a dinner party or in miniature form as nibbles at a stand up do. Plus you can use leftovers to make them and if you don’t have or don’t want to use fresh salmon, know that the canned stuff is just as tasty (if somewhat more smelly!) than fresh.
I love making a decent amount and freezing them before the final dusting in some seasoned flour and frying them off for future dinner times when you are too time-pressed to make them from start to finish in one go. My Blackened Salmon Fishcakes are incredibly tasty with a hint of spice, but certainly not so much as you can’t taste that gorgeous fish.
One of the main reasons I love a fishcake is how customisable they are – you can use pretty much any fish and seasonings you like to keep things interesting. I have to admit to keeping bags of chopped coriander (and parsley and mint) in my freezer at all times plus I tend to stock up on salmon whenever I see it on offer so for us, these fishcakes are very much store cupboard based and so save lots of time and effort.
Harissa keeps for ages in the fridge and when I don’t have a fresh lime in, I’ll squirt in some juice from a bottle (I know, more dishonourable foodie behaviour).
Often fishcakes are coated in breadcrumbs of various sorts before frying them but I much prefer seasoned flour alone (just like when I make my KFC chicken) and when you add that fabulous spice mix from the Deep South of America, Old Bay Seasoning to it, they take on a wonderful blackened almost Cajun appearance. Serve with a side salad, in a burger bun with crisp lettuce and mayo swirled with some sriracha or dare I suggest it, a side of baked beans if it’s a sit down meal and you’ve got one satisfyingly big flavoured dinner (party) on your hands.
- Approx 250g salmon fillets*
- 2 medium sized baking potatoes
- 1 tsp harissa or more if you like it hotter
- Zest of a lime
- 2 tbsp fresh coriander chopped
- Sea salt and black pepper to taste
- 2-3 tbsp oil rapeseed or a light olive
- 4 heaped tbsp plain flour
- 2 tsp Old Bay seasoning
If not using leftover or canned salmon, preheat the grill on high and place the salmon fillets on a greased baking tray - cook for 7 minutes then leave to cool.
Flake the fish into a large bowl and cover with some kitchen roll to absorb any excess liquid (they ooze a little as they sit when using fresh fillets).
Peel and quarter the potatoes, place in a saucepan of cold water then bring the boil. Simmer for 8-10 minutes until they yield to the point of a sharp knife. Drain very well and allow to sit in the sieve/colander to steam dry for a few minutes.
If you have a potato ricer, use it to rice the potatoes over the flaked salmon then add the lime zest, coriander, harissa and season well with salt and pepper.
Mix together and form either 6 burger sized patties about 1.5 cm deep or 12 smaller ones. Place on a plate and cover with cling film, chilling in the fridge at least for an hour if not over night. You can freeze the fishcakes at this point and thaw in the fridge overnight if you don't need them all at once.
When ready to cook, heat the oil in a small-ish sauté pan on medium heat and meanwhile, mix the Old Bay seasoning with the flour and roll the fishcakes in it, pressing down firmly to coat them well.
Place the fishcakes in the oil carefully and cook for 3-4 minutes a side (2-3 for the smaller ones), trying to turn only once or twice until the fishcakes have a charred (not burnt!) appearance and they are reheated all the way through. If you need, they can be transferred to a baking tray in a low oven for up to 30 minutes before serving.
* = you can use tinned salmon if you prefer, in which case I'd remove the bones and skin that come in tinned salmon. Leftover poached or grilled salmon is perfect here too.
You can use an equivalent amount of leftover mashed potato if you can some on hand - aim for 50:50 in volume of fish to potato.
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