White Fish and Tarragon Fish Cakes

As a kid I hated fishcakes, but then in my day, school and frozen fishcakes were not a very nice combination. Too much potato with cheap fish and even then, too much salt made for a tasteless dish. You couldn’t buy fresh fishcakes from shops and my mother never made them.

I changed my mind because they can be very healthy and I have now made them several times before using different kinds of fish. Personally I have found smoked fish the best as it gives a more intense flavour. But on saying that having used plain white fish such as cod and haddock I’ve found they also work well. I have been convinced by people that I should use a fish from a sustainable source. Also I was convinced by the Hugh Fearnly-Whittingstall’s programme that other white fish can work, so seeing as I had some pouting in the fridge, I decided to use it up. It is a fairly strong white fish with some very small bones, so be careful to ensure you have removed them.

Ingredients (serves 4 as starter or 2 as main)

400ml milk
10 black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
250g white fish
500g potatoes, chopped
1tbsp fresh tarragon, finely chopped
salt and pepper to season
50g bread crumbs
1 medium egg
2 tbsp vegetable oil


Put the milk into a frying pan and add the peppercorns, bay leaves and fish and bring up to a gentle boil and poach for 10 minutes or until the fish is cooked.

Remove the fish and allow it to cool. Flake the fish fairly finely, removing any bones and skin, then set aside. Reserve the milk the fish was poached in.

Boil the potatoes until soft. Drain, then mash them and add them to a bowl and allow to cool down. Once cool add the fish and tarragon and mix all together adding salt and pepper to season. You may want to add a little of the reserved milk to moisten the mixture.

Put the breadcrumbs onto a large plate. Crack the egg into a bowl and beat it with a fork.

Take the fish mixture and make either 4 large or 8 small fishcakes. Take each fish cake and dip into the beaten egg then place into the breadcrumbs. Turn the cakes making sure the breadcrumbs completely cover each one. Gently tap the cakes to remove any excess breadcrumbs and place to once side.

Put the oil into a frying pan, and gently heat. Add the cakes and fry for 15-20 minutes until hot and golden brown.

Serve with a salad or steamed vegetables.

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About Keifer Derrin

Having worked in IT for over 20 years, Keifer Derrin quit his job to do something new. Not claiming to be a Gordon, Heston or even a Delia, Keifer’s passion for all kinds of food includes trying out new recipes whether they take 10 minutes or 8 hours to prepare. He also enjoys eating out - anything from The Ledbury to Pizza Express and even a local greasy spoon! Keifer also does voluntary work for the Food Chain, a charity that supplies food, meals & nutritional education to people who are HIV+. Check out his food blog at www.donkeyfodder.com
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