Monday, 21 March 2011

Haddock and leek fish cakes

One of the regular contracts I have is filling the freezer of a family with very busy lives and small children. The challenge is to provide nutritious healthy meals that can be easily defrosted and cooked in the microwave or oven with the minimum of fuss. An added complication for this particular job is to reduce the salt content yet still maintain maximum flavour. For this recipe I poach the fish in milk with bay leaf and onion to add a depth of flavour to the haddock. Then as I combine the ingredients together I add a dash of nutmeg. The sweetness works perfectly with the leek and the fish and the resulting taste is reminiscent of a lovely rich bechamel. If you aren't making a low salt version don't forget to boil the potato in salted water and then season to taste when you combine the fish, potato and leek together.

These little cakes are perfect made in large batches and frozen. All you have to do is defrost them thoroughly in the fridge overnight, place them on a baking tray and cook for 25 mins at 200C or until piping hot all the way through. I like to eat them with fries and a sharp green salad but they also go really well with risotto.

Haddock and leek fish cakes (makes 8)
  • 700g potato
  • 400g haddock 
  • 500ml milk
  • 1 onion, peeled and halved
  • bay leaf
  • pinch nutmeg
  • 2 leek, finely chopped
  • 25g butter
  • 1/2 tblspolive oil
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • 2 tblsp plain flour
  • 2 tblsp bread crumbs 
  • pepper to taste
  • olive oil for frying
  1. Peel and cube the potato and boil until soft. Once ready drain thoroughly and mash in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Remove any skin and poach the haddock for 15 mins in a pan of milk, with the 2 onion halves, and the bay leaf. When cooked remove from the pan and flake the fish into the mashed potato
  3. Fry the leek in the butter and oil until soft, sweet and golden brown, then remove from the pan and drain on kitchen roll before mixing in a bowl with the mashed potato, flaked fish, nutmeg and a turn of pepper if required. Carefully and evenly combine the mixture together with your hands. If the mix is too dry you can add a little of the poaching liquid, but you may not need it.
  4. With your hands form little cakes, then leave on a plate or tray. Individually dip each cake into the flour, then the egg and then the bread crumbs. Place on a plate until required.
  5. Now heat enough olive oil to shallow fry the cakes, when the oil is hot gently lower each cake into the pan.They will need approximately 4 mins per side to turn them golden brown. If they are colouring too fast turn the heat down.

If you are planning on freezing these don't forget to cool completely before sealing in an airtight bag or container and placing in the freezer.


  1. mmmm what a lovely, light and easy to make recipe... I will be making these... don't get enough fish and these are a good way to eat it! Thanks

  2. I like that you have done a low salt recipe for your fishcakes. I am sure that they will still have a great flavour. :-)

  3. Oh, that looks lovely. Just as a thought, the idea of lots of stuff like that - good tasty cook-ahead recipes for families - is one we'd snap up. I'm sure i'm not the only one of your readers for whom "mmmm...but I'll have to wait for an adults only meal" is a consideration!

  4. Thanks for the comments guys. This regular contract is a great way of experimenting with flavours when you don't have the luxury of salt.

    I'll blog a few more elegant freezer dishes when I get my back log of recipes out of the way.

  5. Of course, wotsisface is allergic isn't he?