Thursday, 11 June 2009

Recipe: Smoked haddock fishcakes, parsley sauce

A simple dish, but one that requires your full attention over serveral stages and different cooking techniques including poaching, boiling, shallowing frying and sauce making so make sure you allow enough time to get it all done. The fishcakes and sauce are ideal for freezing so double the recipe and you'll be more than repaid for your efforts.

I prefer shop bought breadcrumbs for this recipe; they just produce a better tasting and better looking result. Plus they don't absorb as much oil as fresh homemade crumbs would do. I've got a drum of Paxo breadcrumbs in my cupboard, but feel free to use the more fancy panko variety if you like; they do produce a beautifully crunchy result.

Smoked haddock fishcakes, parsley sauce

serves four

for the fishcakes

1 pint full cream milk
600g undyed smoked haddock
1 bay leaf
5 black peppercorns
1kg red skin potatoes, peeled and diced
1 drum of Paxo breadcrumbs
2 eggs
200g plain flour
salt and pepper
vegetable oil

for the sauce

55g butter
40g tablespoon plain flour
milk reserved from poaching the haddock
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
25g flat leaf parsley, leaves picked from the stem and finely chopped
salt and pepper

Put the haddock in a large pan and cover with the milk. Add the bay and peppercorns, cover the pan with a lid and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and let the pan sit for 4 minutes. Remove the fish from the milk (which should be strained and reserved for the sauce)then skin, bone and flake the flesh and set aside.

Put the diced potaotes in a large pan, cover in cold water, bring to the boil, add a generous pinch of salt and cook until tender. Drain, return to the heat to dry out the potatoes then mash until smooth. Fold in the fish and season with salt and pepper and allow to cool.

Form the mixture into eight equal sized balls, flatten slightly then pane them by tossing them first in the flour, then the egg and finally the breadcrumbs. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

To make the sauce, melt the butter in a pan, add the flour and stir until amalgamated and slightly coloured. Whisk in the milk bit by bit until you have a smooth sauce. Cook over a low heat for 20-30 minutes until thickened. Add the mustard, parsley and season with salt and pepper.

Heat about an inch of vegetable oil in a frying pan until hot and fry the fishcakes until golden brown on both sides. Transfer to a hot oven to cook through for five minutes.

Serve two fishcakes per person on a bed of wilted spinach with the sauce spooned around the plate.

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