It’s amazing really; the alchemy that goes on when you throw a few ingredients together , roll them up into a cute ball and deep-fry the whole lot. Fishcakes – and these variants on the theme – are so easy to make, provided you follow the golden rule; Chill the beasts. Seriously. If you don’t have time to chill the cakes, don’t bother making them – unless you just want a pan of mushy, oily goo. Also, make the salsa ahead of time – the longer it sits in the pan, the better it gets.
For Four decent-sized cakes, begin by making some mashed potato – go easy on the butter and cream or milk, though. Do enough for two people. Whilst the mash is cooling, chop up two Spring Onions, and a whole chilli pepper. Stick those in a bowl, and to that add one tin of Crab meat (fresh, if you have it, would be ace). Take some cooked Prawns and chop those up into small chunks. Add the prawns to the bowl too.
Dump in the mash and work it all together. To season, just add some salt and chopped fresh Coriander. Cover, and chill for at least 30 minutes in the fridge. Go watch some Pearl Jam on YouTube with a beer, if you like.
Shape your chilled filling into cakes – not too deep, or they won’t cook – and cover again and chill for 20 minutes. When ready, take a plate and put some flour on it. Flour each side of the cakes, and the edges, a couple of times. When coated, shallow fry in hot oil – not Olive Oil though. Sunflower or Vegetable are fine.
Try to only turn them once, when browned on one side. One other thing I like to do is give them five minutes in hot oven before serving; it seems to just drive off a little of the oil and ensure a decent crunch. Serve with a leaf salad and a cheeky, zippy Salsa – made by just softening some Red Bell Pepper, a couple of Tomatoes, another chopped Chilli and a couple of cloves of Garlic. Add a little Balsamic Vinegar, a dollop of Olive Oil, and chopped Coriander. Finally, just add a touch of sugar; a must for tangy tomato sauces – it just takes the bitter edge off.
If you have the time, this makes a good starter for a weekend meal – but I eat these the most for weekend lunch. Beer-wise, I’d recommend Bath Ales’s excellent Wild Hare (5%abv).
Pale-gold in colour, it’s a Lemon & Lime-sherbert-fest in the nose, with a surprisingly robust digestive-biscuit body. It’s light, finishes clean, grassy and ever-so-slightly-flinty and refreshes perfectly. A great beer, and one I’d recommend for any light seafood dishes like this. It’s organic, too – huzzah!