Fishcakes and Ready Steady Cook marked the beginning of my love affair with British food. They combine two of my favorite things: fish and potato. Fried in ample butter, nothing can really go wrong with this one for me.
When I made fish cakes for the first time myself, I followed a Nigel Slater recipe and used fresh fish. This seemed fancy and correct. But then one day I was broke and used tinned fish instead. Turns out those are a thousand times more delicious than fresh fish fishcakes.
I love nothing more than money saved and taste buds pleased, so here is my very basic fishcake recipe that you can make from stuff that you’ll probably have on hand.
What do I eat with fishcakes?
I claim this is a recipe for two but generally I eat this by myself with some butter lettuce and a light vinaigrette made with olive oil and white wine or cider vinegar, some salt and pepper. You don’t really need much more.
Instead of the below tarragon sauce a mayo on the sharper end of the spectrum would also do nicely.
Variations on fishcake
You can also make these with fresh fish, as mentioned. Choose a slightly firmer but not too fatty fish, like cod or salmon. Be sure to pick a fish that is ASC- or MSC-certified.
Super Easy British Fishcake Recipe
- Potato peeler
- Large bowl
- Frying pan
For the fishcakes
- 1 tin / 213 gr fish I use tuna or salmon, check for ASC- or MSC-certified fish
- 3 medium sized potatoes you want roughly the same weight as the fish
- pinch salt
- pinch pepper
- pinch cayenne optional
- 50 gr all purpose flour
- 1 pat butter
For the sauce, optional
- 1 pat butter
- 50 ml white wine
- 250 ml cream
- 1 small bunch tarragon stem removed
- 1 clove garlic optional
- 1 small shallot finely chopped, optional
To make the fishcakes
- Peel and roughly cut 3 potatoes into large chunks. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, until completely tender. You can test this by sticking a fork in the potatoes as they cook, it should slide right through.
- In the meantime: drain 1 tin/ 213 gr of fish. Flake to your desired consistency, I like mine kind of chunky. Season the fish with pinches of pepper, salt and cayenne (if using) and set aside in a large bowl. A pinch is roughly what you can hold together between your thumb, index and middle finger.
- Drain the potatoes and mash them to your desired consistency in the pan. I like mine with a remnant of chunkiness.
- Add the potatoes to the fish mixture and mix together. Again: to your desired consistency. I like there to be chunks of fish and potato left, so it's not so much of a coherent mush but more of a textured affair. I'm not judging you coherent mush people however.
- Melt some butter in a hot skillet or (non-stick) frying pan.
- Form your potato-fish mixture into 4 patties, they don't need to be a super nice shape unless that's your thing. Lightly dust them with a bit of all-purpose flour and fry until golden in the butter.
To make the sauce, optional
- After frying off the fishcakes, remove from the pan and melt some more butter into the pan.
- Add 50 ml of wine and 250 ml of cream. Let it come to a nice bubble and let it go until the sauce thickens ever so slightly. Finish with tarragon leaves, salt and pepper.
- You can gussy this sauce up further by glazing off a small helping of finely chopped shallots and garlic but let's not complicate things unless we want to ey?