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Esurientes - The Comfort Zone

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Deviated Fishcakes


I made these ages ago. Like Christmas-time. And the photo's just been sitting there languishing away. It's not the prettiest shot, so there's a good reason why.
I'd never got around to posting about these fishcakes, because, although I went by Nigella's recipe in "Feast" I changed it so much along the way that I could hardly remember what I'd done, and whether they even vaguely resembled the fishcakes she described. Anyway, I found her recipe on the internet, and have included it below.

The ones you see above were made with (hmm....thinking way back here)...tinned tuna. Not even plain tinned tuna, but one of those tins of flavoured lemon and herb tuna. Yes, I know they would have been better with tinned salmon, but we had tuna and I was looking for something to use up the mashed potato we had. I think there was parsley in the potatoes, because I can see green bits. Really, fish cakes are pretty much about using up leftovers, so I suggest treating all recipes as mere guidlelines for going it alone.
No matzo meal in our house either, so I did the egg wash and breadcrumb thing; using a combination of those lung-clogging fluro orange sawdusty things, and some crunchy Japanese panko crumbs. I also couldn't be bothered standing over a pan frying them, so threw them in a hot oven for a bit. I dunno...20 minutes? It does mean they don't turn crunchy and oily and golden, but it also means they are healthier. And less work, really.
One thing that held true for my deviated Nigella fishcakes; yes, the raw mixture smells revolting. It really does. Kind of puts you off wanting to cook them, but truly, once they're done, they are very tasty.
As you can see I served these with mayonnaise and tomato sauce. The only time I have willingly consumed tomato sauce in the past...oooh....10 years? I hate the sickly sweet stuff...turning my nice savoury food into a dessert. But with these, it just seemed appropriate. And it worked (in very, very small quantities!)
Read on for the recipe:

Salmon Fishcakes
Nigella Lawson "Feast"
For the fishcakes:
1 1/2-2 1/4 cold mashed potatoes
14-15 ounces of canned salmon
1 tablespoon of unsalted butter, melted (if the mashed potato hasn't got any butter in it)
Fat pinch of cayenne pepper
Grated zest of half a lemon
Salt and pepper
1 egg
For coating and frying:
2 eggs
1/2 cups of matzo meal, preferably medium
1/4 cups of unsalted butter
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil

In a large bowl, mix together all the fishcake ingredients (preferably with your hands).

Cover a baking sheet with plastic wrap, plunge your hands back into the mixture and form fat, palm-sized patties. Place these on the baking sheet and put in the refrigerator to firm up for about 20 minutes to an hour--or considerably longer, if that helps.

Beat the eggs in a shallow soup bowl and sprinkle the matzo meal onto a dinner plate. One by one, dip the fishcakes into the beaten egg and then into the matzo meal, sprinkling and dredging over, as you help coat them. When you're done, put the butter and oil in a large frying pan, heat till it begins to fizzle and then fry the fishcakes on each side, until the crusts are golden and speckled brown in parts, and the soothing centers are warmed through.

Makes seven to nine three-inch diameter fishcakes



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