It’s a shame to associate these fish cakes with leftovers. They’re too elegant and too good. It certainly is not a word we use around our house, where our kids won’t eat anything with the “leftover” stigma attached. I have to hide the mashed potatoes at the very back of the fridge (behind other untouchables like plain yogurt or tomato juice) so the kids don’t spot them.
Besides, these fish cakes come with a ringing endorsement from a good friend who is from Prince Edward Island, a place where both fish and potatoes are highly regarded. I quote directly: “Those were the best fish cakes I’ve ever tasted.”
Good mashed potatoes are the key ingredient here. You could swap out the fish for ham and cheese or even leftover turkey, but if your potatoes aren’t fluffy light and creamy, you’ll end up with hockey pucks. I prefer a corn flake crumb crust because the extra crunch of corn flake crumbs contrasts beautifully with the soft, almost molten centre.
I have topped these with any number of sauces (Hollandaise, curried mayonnaise, tomato) or just plain lemon juice, but a simple dressing of olive oil, lemon, garlic, parsley and briny capers and anchovies gives it Mediterranean brightness that’s perfect for a dark winter week night. Everything has been previously cooked so make the patties fairly thick so the centre stays creamy. Serve with steamed vegetables or a side salad.
Fish cakes with anchovy caper sauce
For the fish cakes
2 cups cold mashed potatoes (leftovers are perfect)
1 1/2 cups cooked cod or other firm white fish
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp chopped parsley
Corn flake crumbs to coat
Canola or vegetable oil for frying
For the sauce
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup each of drained capers, chopped fresh parsley, lemon juice
2-3 cloves garlic cloves, minced
In a large frying pan, heat about 1 1/2 inches of oil to 360 F.
In a large bowl combine the potatoes, cod, onion, mustard and one egg. Mix well and form into patties about an inch or so thick. In a separate bowl beat the other egg. One by one, coat each patty in egg and then corn flake crumbs. Set aside.
Fry the fish cakes in small batches so the oil stays hot. Three or four minutes per side. Keep warm on a cooling rack in a 250 F oven until ready to serve. Top with sauce, a lemon slice and fresh parsley just before serving.
Combine all sauce ingredients in a food processor and pulse until well-blended but still a little chunky.