smoked mackerel fish cakes

Lindsey Bareham

These fish cakes are mixed with mayonnaise and have an Asian tang thanks to the addition of coriander

Eureka moments in the kitchen are few and far between, but the discovery of mayonnaise to bind fish cakes is definitely a little one. Normally I use egg yolk, but a scoop of mayo is a convenient alternative that contributes to a lovely, soft filling.

Smoked mackerel makes delicious fish cakes, particularly with creamed horseradish added. The mixture ends up on the floppy side so rather than risk them collapsing, I made smaller fish cakes with a breadcrumb finish. The combination of crusty casing and very creamy filling is particularly good.

On a whim I blitzed coriander with the bread. It turns the crumbs bright green and adds a subtle, but distinctive, Asian tang to the flavours.

Rather than fry the fish cakes, as I did, they could be cooked in a hot oven (200C/gas mark 6) on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Allow about 20 minutes, turning them half way through. Serve with a lemon wedge and a few crisp lettuce leaves.

serves 4, prep 20 mins, cook 20 mins,

500g potatoes
20g butter
Splash of milk
125g smoked mackerel fillets
1 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp creamed horseradish
6 tbsp sifted flour
150g white bread without crust
25g coriander
1 egg
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 lemon

Peel, thickly slice, rinse and boil potatoes in salted water for about 6 minutes until tender. Drain and mash with butter and small amount of milk to make a stiff mash. Spread out in a mixing bowl to cool. Season lightly with salt and generously with freshly grated black pepper.

Strip skin off fish and break into small scraps over the warm mash. Add mayo and horseradish then sift 1 tbsp flour over mixture. Use a large, metal spoon to mix everything thoroughly into a ball. Divide in quarters. Flour your hands, then make four balls from each quarter of mixture. Using both hands, quickly flatten and work each ball into a chunky little, straight-sided fish cake approx 5cm x 1½cm thick.

Transfer to a plate as you go. Leave to cool, then cover and chill for 15 minutes.

Tear the bread into the bowl of a food processor and add the coarsely chopped coriander. Blitz into crumbs. Spread out in a shallow cereal bowl. Whisk egg in a second bowl and sift remaining flour into a third. Carefully pass the fishcakes through the flour, egg and crumbs, transferring to a plate. Cover and chill or cook immediately in two batches in hot oil for 2-3 minutes a side, adjusting the heat so the crumbs cook into a crisp, golden shell. Serve with a lemon wedge.