You see, I love fishcakes. Son and heir quite likes fishcakes. Hubby hates fishcakes, unless they're 10% potato, 90% fish. As a result, any fishcake experiments I may have made in the past, were entirely too much potato for him. He also prefers his fishcakes to be egged, breadcrumbed and fried, whereas I used to make some tuna fishcakes which were oven baked.
It's true that my fishcakes were more like potato cakes with fish - and it is also true that they were the size of foot stools. Hubby takes a more refined approach to his fishcakes and makes "dipping" sized cakes.
All of which is why hubby is now the official fishcake maker for the house.
So, when 805 Foods got in touch with me and offered to send me some of their Hot Monika Sauce, after some lengthy consideration, hubby was volunteered to make some Salmon Fishcakes, to eat alongside the (then) relative unknown that was "Hot Monika Sauce".
Somehow or another, I'd completely missed the fact that the Monika Sauce was a hot one. The "Bell & Scotch Bonnet Hot Sauce" had registered as just that - well, it couldn't be anything else, with Scotch Bonnets in it - but the amazing aroma of the Hot Monika Sauce took me by surprise when we prised the lid off.
Now I'll come clean and say that I - much to my regret - have only had the tiniest of tastes of this sauce. I've been afflicted by a tendency towards dreadful heartburn just lately - and eating hot sauce definitely wasn't on the cards for me. So you'll have to take hubby's word for it, that the Hot Monika Sauce is just a-mazing. Since he's been eating his way through the pot, he's dubbed it - variously - "calamity sauce", "murder sauce" and "catastrophe sauce", from which you might gather that it lives up to its name as "hot sauce". That aside, however, the flavours are just immense and beautiful, all at the same time.
There is some indefinable quality to this sauce that I've not come across in any other hot sauce - certainly not one of this type, with chunks of fresh vegetables in it. It is very different to the "hot sauces" that you see coming out of the States, for instance. One thing that is worth mentioning, is that this is a sauce of African origin - so you can expect to find yummy ingredients like okra and plantain featuring highly.
We used the sauce as an accompaniment to the Salmon Fishcakes - and it did the job perfectly. Son & heir was a tiny bit over-faced by the heat of it, but persevered, taking smaller and smaller amounts until he found a bearable level. Hubby just simply got lashed into his!
As for the Salmon Fishcakes, well, it was another opportunity to break out the beautiful Essential Cuisine Fish Stock that really should be re-labelled "Seafood Stock", as it tastes far more of shellfish than plain old fish. Hubby used the stock to poach the fish and lost none of the salmon flavour, being enhanced as it was by the stock, not washed away by poaching water.
If you are considering making these fish cakes, bear in mind that there are a huge number of other ingredients that could be added to the fishcake mixture. Thai basil, mint, spring onions and parsley spring immediately to mind (though not all together perhaps). Hubby kept this particular recipe relatively simple as he wanted the flavour of the salmon to be right in the foreground.
|Little fishy beauty, all ready to be fried|
As you may have gathered, I'm not entirely fussy over my fishcakes - but these really were classy little morsels of delectably delicious salmony loveliness. Yes, I think he's earned the badge of Fishcake Maker - along with his risotto, bread, chilli con carne and ice cream badges!
SALMON FISH CAKES (makes up to 12 small)
300g salmon (I used frozen - defrosted - as there wasn't any fresh available)
300g good mashing potatoes (I used Maris Piper)
small bunch of dill
500ml fish stock
zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
1 egg, beaten
3 heaped tablespoons of plain flour
day-old crusty bread, converted into breadcrumbs
a small pinch of paprika
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
For the Breadcrumbs :
Tear the bread into chunks and then whizz into breadcrumbs in a food processor. Evenly spread the crumbs onto a shallow baking tray and place into a low oven at 90 to 100degC. The crumbs should be dry and crisp after about five minutes, but watch them like a hawk to prevent over-browning.
For the Fishcakes :
1. Cube the potato and boil in salted water until tender. Mash the potato thoroughly and then set aside.
2. Meanwhile, place the defrosted salmon in a pan and cover with fish stock. Bring the pan to a gentle simmer and poach the fish for five minutes. Drain and discard the fish stock - or retain for soup - and flake the salmon before adding to the potato.
3. Finely chop the dill and then add this, along with the grated lemon zest. Mix thoroughly and season well, taking great care not to add too much salt. Put the entire mixture into a covered bowl and then place in the fridge to completely cool.
4. Take two shallow bowls. Beat the egg into one bowl and then heap three tablespoons of flour into the other. Season the flour well with milled sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and a pinch of paprika. Line the bowls up along your worktop, with the tray of breadcrumbs at one end - flour, egg then breadcrumbs.
5. Take the fishcake mixture from the fridge and then shape into patties. The size and thickness of these is entirely up to you. For a 'dipping' fishcake I like to keep them quite small, something like 2-3cm in diameter. The quantities given above should make between 15 and 20 small dipping fishcakes.
6. Now take a patty and toss it gently in the bowl of seasoned flour. Take care that the entire fishcake has a covering of flour before tapping gently to remove any excess.
7. Now put the fishcake into the beaten egg, once again ensuring a good coating before dropping onto the tray of breadcrumbs prepared earlier. Turn the fishcake in the crumbs, ensuring that both sides and all of the edges are well covered before placing onto a flat baking sheet covered with a sheet of greaseproof paper. Repeat this process until all of the fishcakes are coated. The cakes can now be put back into the fridge until ready for cooking or carefully packaged for freezing.
8. To cook the fishcakes, gently shallow fry in sunflower oil, turning frequently until golden on both sides. Fry the cakes in batches of four or five to avoid crowding the frying pan, keeping the cooked ones warm in the oven until ready to serve.
A bowl of your preferred dipping sauce and a lightly dressed green salad make perfect companions.