Wednesday, 3 February 2010

All That Remains (Irish haddock fish cakes with lemon mayonnaise)

So you've made some awesome Tim-style mashed potato but you've got a load of it left over. You can't justify throwing it away because it's winter and you're so poor that you're already reduced to burning your mum's Chris de Burgh CD collection for warmth (actually, you should be doing that anyway). So what can you do with it?

On a slightly more serious note, you do find yourself eating a lot of the same stuff all the time when you're cooking on a budget (like me), and the price of fish can be a bit of a barrier to trying out some really nice (and easy) recipes. Haddock costs about as much as salmon these days, but because you bulk this dish out with potato you can make a little bit go a long way. As I say, it's also a nice way to use up leftover mash - for me, this recipe is a lot of messing around if you just start it all from scratch. The lemon mayonnaise compliments the fish cakes very nicely in my opinion - fish and lemon are just made for each other after all. One fish cake is a nice starter, but two are substantial enough for a main course.


For the fish cakes:
  • 450g skinned smoked haddock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 150ml milk
  • 350g leftover buttered mash
  • Zest of half a lemon
  • Handful of flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, grated
  • 1-2 tbsps of plain flour
  • Salt and black pepper
  • A slice or two of stale white bread, crusts trimmed
For the lemon mayonnaise:
  • Yolk of one large egg
  • 150ml extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Salt and black pepper
  1. Break the haddock up into bite-size pieces and put it in a saucepan with the milk and bay leaves. Season and bring to the boil, then reduce to a low simmer and poach for about 5 minutes until the haddock is cooked through, then drain using a colander. NOTE: the recipe I based this one on suggested taking the haddock off the heat and leaving it in the warm milk to continue poaching for 10 minutes before draining it. You can try this if you want but I really didn't see the point - fish doesn't take long to cook, it overcooks easily and you're going to fry the fish cake in the pan for about 10 minutes anyway.
  2. While your haddock is cooking, make the lemon mayonnaise. Beat the egg yolk and slowly trickle the olive oil in, whisking thoroughly throughout and slowly increasing the speed at which you pour it in; you should have a nice thick mayonnaise. Season to taste and mix in the lemon juice.
  3. Using a fork, break the haddock up into flakes, then mix it with the mashed potato in a bowl. Grate the bread into the bowl. Season to taste and add the parsley, flour and grated lemon zest.
  4. Heat some olive oil in a pan on a medium-hot temperature. Use your hands to make 4 "burgers" with the fish/potato mixture. When the oil is hot, fry the fish cakes for about 5 minutes on each side until they're golden brown.
  5. Serve with the lemon mayonnaise and a leafy green salad (yes I know there's no salad in the picture, fuck off clever dick).
Some people prefer to make these fish cakes with salmon, or a 50/50 mix. I've done a basic, homely version here but if you make them with salmon they can be a bit more exciting, as the stronger flavour of salmon can lend itself to more vibrant ingredients like ginger, chilli, lime and coriander (instead of parsley). Spring onions also work well in this recipe.

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