For the fish cakes:
450g potatoes, cooked and mashed
1 large onion, finely diced
225g smoked trout, flaked
225g fresh cod, poached & flaked
225g fresh salmon, poached & flaked
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon chopped dill
1 tablespoon chopped chives
2 tablespoon chopped flat leaf parsley (divide into 2 equal halves)
Zest of 3 lemons, finely chopped (divide into one-third and two-thirds)
6 tablespoons of breadcrumbs (approx 2 slices bread)
3 tablespoons of plain flour
2 eggs, beaten
For the parsley sauce:
1 medium onion, finely diced
75g plain flour
Large handful of flat leaf parsley, leaves and stalks finely chopped (keep the stalks separate)
Makes 8 fish cakes (2 per person is a very decent meal) and enough sauce to cover them. If you are going to chill / freeze some of the fish cakes, reduce the ingredients for the sauce proportionately.
Directions on how to make speedy mashed potatoes can be found here.
To poach the fish, cover in cold water, add 1 bay leaf and bring to boil. After boiling for 5 mins, remove from heat and flake the fish, discarding the skin and the bay leaf. Remove any bones at this point and throw away.
Heat the 50g butter and sauté the onions over a medium heat for about 10 mins, so they are well cooked but do not take on colour.
In a large bowl combine the breadcrumbs, half of the chopped parsley and one-third of the lemon zest. Tip out onto a plate. On a 2nd plate, spread out your flour. Finally, on a bowl (or plate with high sides), pour out your beaten eggs.
In your empty bowl, combine the mashed potatoes, flaked fish, cooked onion, dill, chives and the remaining parsley and lemon zest. Mix well with your hands and divide into 8, forming into fish cake shapes. Dip each fish cake into the flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs, coating well and set aside. The fish cakes can be chilled or frozen at this point for later use – 24-48 hours in fridge, 1 month in freezer.
Now turn your oven on to 200 C. Begin to cook the parsley sauce while the oven heats. Melt your butter over a medium heat and add in the chopped onion and parsley stalks, frying gently for about 10 minutes until softened, but not coloured. Reduce the heat and add in the flour, stirring well. Start slowly adding in the milk, about 2-3 tablespoons at a time, stirring in well to avoid lumps. You may need to play with the heat here, keep your mix just below a simmer.
Just after you start adding the milk to the sauce, heat enough vegetable oil in a frying pan to just cover the bottom. Fry the fish cakes over a medium heat for 3-4 minutes on each side, until lightly golden. Be careful not to use too much heat as they will burn easily. Once fried, transfer to a baking tray and place in the oven for 10 minutes.
All this time you should have been keeping an eye on your sauce, adding the milk until you get to the consistency you desire. With about 2-3 minutes before the fish cakes are ready to come out of the oven, add in the chopped parsley and stir well. Season to taste with salt and pepper – this is very important as the sauce will be incredibly bland without added salt!
Note: if you can’t get the specific types or quantities of fish listed here, feel free to substitute smoked salmon, tinned tuna, etc, as needed.