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Julie’s fabulous fish cakes

  • 30th Nov, 2005 at 2:45 PM

Julie and I used to love cooking together, so here is one of her recipes. These are some of the best fish cakes I have ever tasted and they are still my favourite trashy food. Here is my interpretation of her most excellent dish.

Since it takes about ten minutes to make these things, they’re really good as a quick midnight snack. Even now, I can barely resist the urge to go into the kitchen and fry some up.

But they’re also great as appetizers to fancy dinner parties. Just serve two of them, one leaning against another, on a large funky plate. Drizzle sriracha around them with a squeeze bottle and garnish with a spring of thai basil. I assure you that they will impress.

Fish cakes


  • 200g wild sockeye salmon, tinned and packed in water
  • 2 shallots
  • handful parsley leaves
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ lime
  • 30mL corn meal
  • 30mL white flour
  • salt
  • pepper
  • cayenne pepper


  1. Drain the tin of salmon and reserve the liquor for your cat. Pick out the bones from the salmon and eat them, telling no-one. Empty the tin of fish into a mixing bowl. Now that your cat has seen you eating salmon, you might as well put the reserved liquor in a bowl beside his food dish.
  2. Peel and finely mince the shallots. Mix them into the salmon.
  3. Wash and thoroughly dry the parsley. Use only the leaves, the stems don’t add very much to the texture. Finely chop them and add to the salmon mixture.
  4. Crack the egg into the mixing bowl and thoroughly incorporate. It’s fine to break up the chunks of salmon, but try not to paste it.
  5. Squeeze the lime half in and add the corn meal and white flour. Stir to combine. The mixture should now be firm enough to form into balls. If not, add more flour and corn meal.
  6. Add salt and fresh black pepper to taste. Add cayenne for a little kick of heat.
  7. In a cast-iron frying pan, heat a centimetre of oil over medium-high heat. When you drop in a piece of shallot, it should sizzle and fry.
  8. Here’s the fun part. Take a rounded tablespoonful of the fish mixture and form it into a rough ball. Place it into the fat and press it down with your spatula until it is a cake that’s about two centimetres thick. Keep on doing this until your pan is full.
  9. Starting from your first cake, flip over to the other side. The top should now be a nice golden brown. By the time you finish flipping all the cakes, your first one should be done. Remove to a stack of paper towels and let your cakes drain.

Makes 6 to 8 fish cakes.

The pan-frying really makes these cakes great. You can see the fish flecked with the corn meal and the outside crunches while the interior is moist and tender. And if you are quick, you will get a nice golden exterior.

Instead of the more traditional tartar sauce, I eat these with sriracha, that ubiquitous condiment you see at Vietnamese noodle houses. Its sweet chili flavour marries perfectly with the fatty salmon.

The pretentious among you will wonder if using fresh salmon instead of tinned would be better. To you, I say, why would you waste fresh salmon on trashy finger-food like this?


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
30th Nov, 2005 20:04 (UTC)
Is THAT what you're talking about when you say that!! Now I know. I love that stuff. :D
30th Nov, 2005 20:30 (UTC)
A nice aioli is also a good accompaniment.
1st Dec, 2005 03:58 (UTC)
I quite agree. But I don't know how to make a nice aïoli.
7th Dec, 2005 20:10 (UTC)
but you just did when I made these the other day.
lemon+mayo+garlic = yummy aioli
30th Nov, 2005 21:29 (UTC)
sounds yummy!

and an amusing post, as well. :0
30th Nov, 2005 21:29 (UTC)
whoops, that was supposed to be a ":)" at the end. :P
1st Dec, 2005 04:16 (UTC)
(Deleted comment)
1st Dec, 2005 03:48 (UTC)
You do! And you must spoil the cats while you are at it.
18th Mar, 2007 00:02 (UTC)
Now that your cat has seen you eating salmon

...and more importantly, smelled you eating salmon...

Great recipe, thanks Julie and Simon!
18th Mar, 2007 03:00 (UTC)
But he always watches!
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )