Tonight we had a bit of time on our hands so decided to do a dinner that took a bit more effort. Fishcakes to me always seem to involve so many components (cooking the fish, cooking the celeriac (potatoes usually) combining everything and then re-cooking as a cake) that I tend to shy away from then on weeknights and gravitate towards something that takes less time, but Dan had promised to help tonight so we could split the work between 2.
I started by peeling and chopping the celeriac into cubes about an inch big. Then I steamed them for about 12-15 mins to get them really soft. It’s important to steam them rather than boil them so that they don’t take on too much water and become too wet.
I also put the salmon in the oven to bake (or you could just use tinned salmon if you didn’t want the hassle of cooking the fresh salmon) at 180C for 15mins and while I was doing this, Dan prepped the sides, by peeling a butternut squash and then cutting into fries, along with a potato for himself. He then lay these out on a baking tray and covered with olive oil, salt and pepper, ready for baking later. Check out my Ultimate Guide to Roasted Vegetables for more information.
Leaving him with strict instructions as to when to turn off the celeriac and salmon and when to put the veg into the oven, I left him to it and headed to my BODYVIVE class. It really kicked my butt this week, with a lot of strength and conditioning work thrown in for toning – which is a good thing I guess seeing as my holiday to Portugal is only a month away!It was a really good way to get a workout in, as by the time I got back to the house, all the prep-work was then done and we could start making the actual fishcakes. I started by turning on the oven to 180C and putting the potatoes and butternut squash in as these would take 30-40 mins to cook. Then I drained the celeriac, attempting to squeeze as much water out of it as I could. I did this, using the steamer basket and folding the sides in and pressing as hard as I could, but you could put it in a tea towel and twist it to wring the water out that way (the more water you can get out the firmer and less sloppy your fishcakes will be.)
Then I set Dan to work mashing the celeriac up and zesting and juicing the lemon into it while I chopped the onion and crushed the garlic before frying them in a pan to soften them a bit – dream team! It really is so much easier with two. While the onion and garlic mixture was softening, Dan added the eggs and almond flour and seasoned the mixture while I chopped up some fresh dill (make sure you keep some of this aside for the mayonnaise later). He then stirred all of this together to combine it thoroughly while I flaked the cooked salmon into fairly large pieces. Making sure not to break it up to much, this was then stirred carefully through the rest of the mixture.
Now time for the messy part…
We shaped the fishcakes by hand, using a fairly large handful of the mixture and we got 9 pretty big fishcakes out of the mixture. Now it was time to make the lemon and dill mayonnaise to dip them into. I have to confess to not making the mayo from scratch – I used Kite Mayonnaise from Wholefoods, as it has no nasties or fillers in it and is SCD and Paleo legal and Dan put 2 large tablespoons in a bowl with the juice and zest of a lemon, plenty of black pepper and some more chopped dill and mixed it all up. While he was doing this I put some asparagus and green beans on to steam and toasted some flaked almonds over a low heat in a frying pan to brown slightly.
Then it was time to fry the fishcakes – (I have some left over and am going to try baking them but I can’t vouch for that method yet – will update the post when I know!). I heated a tbsp of oil in a frying pan until it was quite hot and then placed the fishcakes in so they started to sizzle – then don’t move them until you are ready to turn them so that they form a nice crust. I cooked them for about 2-3 mins before flipping them (they held together pretty well) and did the same on the other side. Three in a pan was the maximum I thought I should do so that they didn’t crowd each other and so that I had room to flip them over.
Then we were ready to plate up and eat. Dan had 3 and I had 2 and we were both pretty full afterwards so I’d say the entire recipe probably serves about 4 people. They were delicious, proper comfort food and much lighter than a standard fishcake filled with potato, and the tangy lemon mayo was the perfect accompaniment The dill came through really well and made a big difference, but I think for my next attempt I might try them with chilli and coriander instead. You could use any fish for these, I’m thinking smoked haddock fishcakes would be pretty tasty!