I don’t know about you, but my freezer tends to get quite disorganised. In my line of work, that means all sorts of different fish of different sizes, and lots of unlabelled freezer bags containing unidentified fillets or a few frames for stock. I tend to keep adding frames (fish heads & bones), til I reach a critical mass (enough to make stock).
I know a few of our members are putting a small fish in the freezer every week and so I thought I’d share a really easy way of using up any kind of white fish. It works well with a random mixture too, so a great way to use up whatever you have.With fishcakes you can opt for potato based European or fragrant Asian. I like my potatoes fishcakes to have some smoked fish in there too (Felicity Cloake’s are excellent http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2011/jun/16/how-to-cook-perfect-fishcakes).
So for ease I’ll share a Thai fishcake recipe that can be adapted to whatever you have lying around. If you cook a lot of Asian food, you’ll probably have most of the bits in the fridge/cupboard. If not, I’d buy the ingredients from an Chinese Supermarket, as you get a lot more and much better quality, for your money.
Fancy a fishcake?...
500g white fish (filleted weight), roughly chopped
3 Tbsp. fish sauce
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. palm (or brown) sugar
3 spring onions, finely sliced (or 1/2 small onion/shallot, finely diced)
1 thumb-size piece galangal or ginger, grated
1 lemongrass stalk, bruised
3 cloves garlic
1 red chili, sliced, OR 1/2 tsp. dried crushed chili
vegetable oil for high temp. frying
6 kaffir lime leaves, snipped into thin strips with scissors
Finely diced green beans
Finely chopped fresh coriander
You can substitute the spices for a tablespoon of Thai red curry paste
a splash of lime juice
3 Tbsp. coconut milk
Breadcrumbs/flour and an egg to bind
Things like fishcakes are great, especially if you’ve not got much experience filleting fish. Even if you mess it up and leave a bit of meat on the bones and are left with scraggy fillets, you’re putting them in the blender anyway, so just scrape any remaining meat from the bones!
You’ll need about a kilo of whole fish to get 500g of skinless boneless fillets. If you’ve never skinned a fillet before, have a look here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9kp9f7yFJk
If you’re fish has come out of the freezer, give it a pat dry once it’s thawed to remove any excess moisture.
Combine all the ingredients (except the fish) in a food processor. Once they’re all mixed and mashed, add the fish and pulse until you’ve got a thick paste. N.B. If it’s too thin/watery add some flour. If it’s not combining well, add an egg, if it’s too thick, add a few tablespoons of water. You want a nice thick consistency that you can work with your hands.
Once you’ve got your paste right, using wet hands, take a small handful and roll into a small ball (golfball-sized), then flatten into a patty. Put these onto a clean plate. Once they’re all done, pop them in the fridge for 10-15 mins to firm up.
While the fishcakes are in the fridge, get your oil heating up. Pour vegetable (not olive) oil into a high sided frying pan- you’ll need it an inch deep. Put this on a medium-high heat. The oil’s hot enough when a piece of bread fizzes when added to the oil.
When it’s hot enough, fry your fishcakes in batches. Serve with cucumber, coriander and sweet chilli sauce. Tasty cakes!
Catch and recipes of the week were...
Our member Georgia had a brill time chefing up her catch:
'My Father and I were just lamenting the lack of brill on menus. As it isn’t wildly abundant that’s unsurprising, which made this a real treat. I’m on a BIG budget so I did some ingredient substituting to use what I had in the kitchen. It didn’t matter at all. Despite thirty minutes in the oven this fish was as plump and juicy as Mitch Tonks promised'.
This recipes goes with: Spinach. If you are four people I’d also recommend some potatoes as the fish goes fast. Perhaps mashed because there’s lots of juice to soak up!
Weekly discovery: Tom Hunt’s Forgotten Feast. Eco Chef, food waste activist and member of the Sustainable Seafood Coalition (http://sustainableseafoodcoalition.org). I want to have a party just to try his food http://www.tomsfeast.com.