Saturday, 28 February 2009

Mackerel Fishcakes

I decided to treat myself while on my weekly trip to the supermarket. In order to keep my running costs down and force myself to buy from local producers, I've been limiting the meat and fish that I allow myself to buy during my regular trip to a certain out-of-town retailer. Meat is expensive so, although I'd never describe myself as a vegetarian, I tend to live off vegetables and pulses which the odd big of bacon thrown in for good measure. When my budget allows and my cravings get too much, I'll try to buy from the most local butcher to me. However, this week some smoked mackerel caught my eye during my usual trolley race so in it went! More often than not, smoked mackerel, for me, is a summer purchase that is eaten with salads so I was a bit lost for ideas after my first meal. Then it occurred to me: fishcakes! Here's my concoction for you to try:

Mackerel Fishcakes

Ingredients (to make eight fishcakes):
250g smoked mackerel
250g potatoes
1 beaten egg
1 tbsp plain flour
breadcrumbs

- Peel, quarter and boil potatoes until cooked through and mash.

- While this is cooking, flake the mackerel taking care to remove any bones.

- Mix the mackerel, mashed potato and about 1tbsp of beaten egg (to bind) in a bowl and form into small patties. You can do this by dividing the mixture, rolling it into balls and then flattening them slightly.

- It is probably best, at this stage, to refrigerate your fishcakes for at least half an hour to firm them up which makes the next step easier. However, if you're in a hurry, you can always skip this.

- Prepare three large plates or bowls with: a sprinkling of plain flour, the remaining beaten egg and another with breadcrumbs.

- Sparsely coat each cake with a little flour on each side, then with egg wash and then with breadcrumbs.

- Fry the fishcakes in a little oil over a medium heat for three to four minutes, turning every so often to cook evenly. The outer breadcrumbs with brown slightly. If they start to burn, lower the temperature.


Variations:
This, of course, would work with tinned tuna or salmon if you don't have mackerel. I chopped up some peppadew peppers and added them to the mixture to add some spice. You could also try a touch of dried or fresh chilli. A teaspoon of ready-made thai green or red curry paste and/or some finely chopped lemon grass or corriander would give a pleasing thai flavour. Red or green pesto could also work well.

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