Crispy Chunky Fish-Cakes with Tartare Sauce

You can't beat a nice chunky home-made fish cake served with Tartare sauce - again, home-made of course.

Thick chunks of flaky fish coated with crispy crumbs - what's not to like?  These are big fat fish cakes and even greedy me couldn't eat two!

For the Tartare Sauce:
130 ml Hellmanns mayonnaise
a good tablespoon capers - roughly chopped (rinsed and drained of salt or vinegar)
4 or 5 small cocktail gherkins - roughly chopped
about two teaspoons of creamed horseradish
about two teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 a small red onion -  very finely chopped
about a tablespoon fresh parsley - finely chopped

Fish Cakes to serve 4:
400g skinless and boneless cod or haddock fillet
2 nice looking bay leaves
4 white peppercorns
250ml milk
2 medium sized Maris Piper potatoes - peeled and cut into even sized chunks
salt and pepper to season
1 lemon - zest only but keep the lemon for a little bit later in the recipe
plus another lemon - cut into wedges for serving
about a tablespoon fresh parsley - finely chopped
about a tablespoon of chives - snipped into small bits using scissors
2 eggs - lightly beaten and put onto a large plate
handful of flour - for shaping the cakes
3 slices of  bread - whizzed up in a food processor and then lightly toasted in a dry frying pan - to make them extra crispy
4 glugs of vegetable or sunflower oil  - for frying 

 How to do it:
Start by making the sauce - Why?  Because you will need to add a dollop to the fish cakes.  If you don't like Tartare sauce, you obviously won't be making it - in which case you will still have to add a dollop of mayonnaise so be sure to buy some!
Mix all the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.
Get a nice sized frying pan and lay the fish in it.  Add the 4 peppercorns and bay leaves and pour over the milk.
Cover with a lid or a piece of kitchen foil and bring to a boil.  Now lower the heat and gently simmer for 4 minutes.
Take the pan off the heat and let it stand - lid still on for 10 minutes and the fish will finish cooking.
 While that's happening, put the chunks of potato in a saucepan and cover with water adding a good pinch of salt.
Bring to the boil and then simmer for 10 or 15 minutes or until tender, but make sure not to over cook or they'll  go to mush.
Carefully lift the fish out of the milk with a slotted spoon and put on a plate to cool - check to make sure the 4
peppercorns aren't hiding amongst the fish - they should still be in the milk.   Can't be having whole peppercorns in your fish cakes!  
Drain the potatoes and leave for a minute or two to dry out a bit.
Now tip them into a bowl, and mash the potatoes with a fork - you're looking for a light, dry fluffy mash.

Now add in a good dollop of the Tartare sauce you made earlier - you did make it didn't you?!  If not just add a good dollop of mayonnaise.

Mix it into the potatoes along with  the lemon zest, parsley and chives. Season well with pepper and add salt to taste.

The potato needs to be nicely seasoned or your fish cakes will taste of nothing.
Drain any excess liquid from the fish and grind some pepper over it, then flake it into big chunks into the bowl with the potatoes.

Using your hands, gently lift the fish and potatoes together so they just mix - take care not to let the fish will break up too much.  Put to one side and cool.
Now with the beaten eggs on a large plate and lightly flour a board.

Spread the toasted breadcrumbs out on another large plate.
Divide the fish cake mixture into four.  On the floured board, and with floured hands, carefully shape into four cakes to about 2.5cm thick.

Sit each cake in the egg - one at a time, and brush over the top and sides so it is completely coated.  Now put the cake onto the crumbs, patting the crumbs on the sides and tops so they are lightly covered.

Transfer to a nice clean plate, cover with cling film and chill for 30 minutes (or up to a day ahead).  Don't skip this bit it help the cakes to stay in shape whilst cooking.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan.  To test when ready, drop a piece of the dry breadcrumbs in - if it sizzles and quickly turns golden brown, it is ready to use.

Fry the fish cakes over a medium heat for about 5 minutes on each side or until crisp and golden.
Serve with the rest of the Tartare sauce adding a tiny squeeze of lemon to it to taste.  Lemon wedges would be good here too, for squeezing.


  1. They look fantastic as always Jan! You and Paul certainly eat well! xxoo

  2. These look ^ sound marvy...extra tartar sauce for me!

  3. such beautiful photos of a spectacular dish! so yummy!! :)

  4. Yum, they look so tasty and crispy! I've never tried tartare sauce :o the breakdown of ingredients make it sound less scary though :)


Thanks for taking the time to comment - much appreciated.

Powered by Blogger.