I have a cunning plan. When – as it has done this week – the summery weather we’ve been promised totally stands us up after only the briefest flirtation, and we are left disappointed (but grumpily mumbling something about not liking it that much anyway), I am going to cook my favourite summery food and just pretend it’s not cloudy. So there.
Yesterday I wanted stodge, but I also wanted flavour and sizzle (and I got a bit more than I bargained for, as you’ll see). I’d been thinking about making fishcakes for a while, and it just seemed too good an opportunity to miss. Mine are ‘phat phishcakes’ because a. They’re pretty hefty size-wise. You can make them smaller if you prefer. b. They’re AWESOME.
Here’s what you’ll need: (serves two)
For the fishcakes –
3 large sweet potatoes
2 salmon fillets
1 -2 chillies
Garlic (I used flakes because I’m cheeky, but one or two cloves should cover it)
3 tsp Brown sugar
Zest of half a lemon
Salt and pepper
A knob of butter
A splash of milk
One egg, whisked with a fork
Four to five slices of bread
A few tbsp of grated Parmesan
For the salad –
A bag of spinach
Blue cheese, cut into cubes (as much as you like!)
2 tsp olive oil
2 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
To serve –
Here’s how you do it:
1. I’m one part lazy to two parts hungry, so I microwaved the sweet potatoes. Put them peeled, pricked and clingfilm-wrapped in the microwave for 8-12 minutes, or until totally soft.
2. While they cook, bring a pan of water to a gentle simmer (the water should be only just deep enough to cover the salmon) and lay the salmon in it for six minutes, turning them both over after three.
3. Mash the sweet potatoes, adding milk, butter, seasoning, brown sugar, garlic flakes, lemon zest and chopped chillies, before flaking in the now poached salmon.
4. Blitz the bread (crusts off) in a blender and stir in the parmesan so you have nice cheesey breadcrumbs.
5. Squish the fishcake mixture into little discs (mine were pretty massive, because I’m greedy like that), dip them in egg and coat them in the breadcrumbs. (DO NOT make the mistake I made in thinking you can get away without using egg – all you get is a very big mess! Egg is a definite must.)
6. Shallow fry for three minutes each side, or until they are warmed through and crispy and brown on the outside.
7. While they shallow fry, pop the spinach in the microwave. Depending how much you use, it’ll only need a few seconds (mine was done in 30). I had to do mine twice, as I forgot about it the first time and it… well, sort of set on fire. Ahem. It’s okay, next time I’ll use the supermarket bags that come with instructions…
8. Mix the dressing ingredients up and stir it into the spinach, along with the creamy blue cheese.
9. Serve with a squeeze of lemon and creme fraiche.
Wine match: I ate these little beauties with a glass of crisp New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. It’s like squeezing a lemon over the fish, and really works well with the chilli.