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Fishcakes!

There’s a recipe in both my cookbooks–and they are the most visited on the blog.

I am not alone in loving them!

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They were always a favorite with me–but were off the menu after my diagnosis because they usually share the space with an equal mount of mashed potatoes (sometimes more, one suspects, in restaurants!). Potatoes have a very high glycemic index rating–mashed especially.

So when I spotted the alternative versions, I was delighted.

One recipe mixes the salmon with smoked haddock; another adds fresh dill.

These secondary ingredients are not always easy to find—so here is a third version with the perennially available smoked salmon.

My local supermarket sells 200gm/8oz packets of smoked salmon off-cuts—-perfect for this and less expensive than traditional slices.

LUNCH–with a green salad!

for 2

200 gms/8oz skinless salmon fillet

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200gms/8oz smoked salmon

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  • 1 shallot–chopped small
  • white of an egg
  • 1 tbsp chickpea flour–or any whole flour
  • 1 tsp wholegrain mustard
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 2 tbsp parsley–chopped
  • salt and pepper

Cut up the fresh salmon and the smoked salmon into pieces as illustrated above–roughly bite-size.

Pulse them briefly in a food mixer–they should not be mushy.

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Empty them into a bowl.

Carefully turn in the rest of the ingredients.

Taste for seasoning–delicious exercise!

Scoop out the mixture and form your patties (I use a tablespoon.) Don’t “overwork” the mixture.

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If you have time, cover and refrigerate for half an hour or so–it helps firm up the fishcakes.

Heat the oil to HOT in a frying pan. Very important that the fishcakes cook in hot oil.

Slide them carefully into the pan and flatten them a little with a fish slice/spatula to hasten the cooking.

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After a couple of minutes flip them over and cook briefly the other side.

When you see the milky liquid appearing from inside the fishcakes, they are READY.

Lift them gently out of the pan and arrange them on a serving plate with sliced lemon.

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Delicious served with a little yogurt sauce:

  • 1 pot yogurt
  • 1 tsp wholegrain mustard
  • pinch of salt

Whisk the yogurt smooth and stir in the mustard and salt.

Whisk again.

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I originally published this recipe in early April last year. Yesterday Meredith bought some good looking spinach in Castres market and today a couple of salmon filets caught my eye in Realmont market. Voila! I thought–lunch!

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A shy salmon fillet taking a peek at the world!–today’s version.

I am at the cookbook coal face at the moment, finishing a second book. Finding time to post on this blog is a challenge.

Je m’excuse tout le monde! 

This dish is adapted from a recipe in Simon Hopkinson’s The Good Cook.

He uses butter and vermouth. I use olive oil and white wine–fits in better with my way of eating.

The single pot and the short cooking time make it a useful quick lunch.

for two.

2 salmon fillets–skin left on

1 shallot–chopped fine

300gms/10oz spinach–washed, de-spined and spun free of water

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons white wine

a grating of nutmeg

salt and pepper

  • Heat a tablespoon of oil in a pot with a top.
  • Sauté the shallot for a couple of minutes to soften it.
  • Add the wine and leave it to bubble a moment or two.
  • Lay a third of the spinach in the pan and place the salmon fillets over it.
  • Sprinkle over some salt and pepper and a grating of nutmeg.
  • Cover the salmon with the rest of the spinach.
  • Scatter the remaining tablespoon of oil over the spinach and cover the pan.
  • Cook for seven minutes over a low heat.
  • Turn the heat off and leave the pan covered for ten minutes before serving.
  • These timings can vary depending on the thickness of the salmon fillets.

Less rich than the original might have been, but we enjoyed it.

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Below I reprise two favourite fishcake recipes that have proved popular. I think it’s worth tying them together because they are closely related–and worth sharing again for newcomers to the site.

They each have an ingredient that nicely replaces the potato normally associated with fishcakes: Smoked haddock for the first,  fresh dill for the second.

The first recipe, with smoked haddock, I once did as a starter on Christmas day–so I associate with winter.

The second recipe, with dill–reprinted from my cookbook,  Delicious Dishes for Diabetics–makes a for a tasty lunch outdoors in summer.

Dill is not always easy to find–even in summer–so I sometimes substitute chopped parsley (but dill is better!).

In truth, I’d willingly gobble either down, no matter the season!

Version 1 (Winter)

Salmon and smoked haddock

I used to love fishcakes–but the usual addition of mashed potato made them ‘off limits’ for me, once I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.  Then I found an alternative–no-potato fish cakes–and no longer felt deprived!

My American wife tells me most Americans will find smoked haddock unfamiliar and maybe even daunting and hard to find–but from starting as a sceptic, she is a complete convert now.

This is adapted from a Gordon Ramsay concept….

for 4/6

1 lb/450 gms salmon fillet–with the skin and little bones removed
1 lb/450 gms smoked haddock–undyed, if possible and skin removed
1 large shallot–grated

egg–whisked

1 tablespoon parsley–chopped

salt and pepper
olive oil for sautéing

yogurt–I use no-fat organic, drained in a sieve for half an hour to thicken it.

  • Cut the fish into chunks and place into a food processor.
  • Pulse to a coarse mince–not too much or it will become a slurry.
  • In a bowl, mix the fish with the grated shallot, parsley, salt and pepper.
  • Check the seasoning–raw salmon tastes good!
  • Add the whisked egg and mix in thoroughly.
  • Chill in the fridge for an hour if you’ve time.
  • Mold into little flat patties.
  • Heat the oil in large frying pan.
  • When it’s hot sauté the little cakes for 2 to 3 mins each side.
  • Serve with a small dollop of yogurt sauce (see recipe below); for this version of fishcakes, I’d omit the dill.

Version 2 (Summer)

Salmon Fishcakes with dill and grainy mustard

The dill and the grain mustard make the fishcakes special. They can serve as a tasty starter too depending on the size.

If you keep them small and cook them quickly, they’ll be crisp and brown on the outside and still succulent inside.

This version is adapted from one of my favourite British cooks, Nigel Slater.

400 g/1 lb salmon fillet – skinless and checked for bones

white of an egg

1 tbsp chickpea flour – of course, plain flour works as well

1 tsp grain mustard

juice of ½ lemon

bunch of dill – chopped fine

salt and pepper

2 tbsp olive oil

  • Mix all the yogurt sauce ingredients and refrigerate until you are ready to eat.
  • Cut up the salmon fillets in roughly equal-size pieces.
  • Put these in a mixer and pulse three or four times. 
  • Avoid working them too much and producing slush at the end.
  • Put the salmon in a bowl.
  • Turn in the egg white and the flour, then the mustard, lemon juice and dill.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • It’s a good idea to taste the mix for seasoning at this point–the dill and the salt should come through.
  • Refrigerate if not using immediately.
  • Heat the oil in a frying pan and using a dessertspoon scoop out a dollop and make a ball.
  • Put this in the pan and flatten it gently.

  • Cook on a medium-high flame, crisping and browning the outside while making sure the interior cooks through.

Yogurt sauce

2 x 125 ml pots low-fat yogurt

1 tsp grain mustard

good pinch of chopped dill

salt

Serve with lemon wedges.

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We are having this tonight with our friends Andrew and Peggotty who are here for a few days rest and recuperation!

Meredith says it’s not really from the Mediterranean region so what’s it doing in the cookbook?!

She’s right–it’s more Cajun than Med. I think–but it’s healthy and tastes good, so…!

It’s also a good dish for company–easily adapted to feed more than four.

Allow 200 g/7 oz of salmon fillet per person.

Serves 4

800 g/28 oz salmon fillet–skin and small bones removed

2 tablespoons olive oil

more olive oil for sautéing

For the Orange Yogurt Sauce 

4 tbsp/80 ml/3 fl oz olive oil

400 ml/14 fl oz/1½ cups yogurt of choice – whisked smooth (I use no-fat)

zest and juice of 1 large juicy orange 

For the Herb and Spice Mix 

3 teaspoons each–dried thyme, dried rosemary, dried oregano 

3 teaspoons dry roasted cumin seeds – roughly ground

1½ teaspoons each Spanish sweet smoked paprika, cayenne pepper 

3 cloves of garlic–pulped in a mortar with a pinch of salt

3 teaspoon salt

  • Make the sauce by whisking the olive oil into the yogurt, followed by the zest and juice of the orange. Set it aside.
  • Put all the herbs and spices in a bowl and mix them
  • thoroughly.
  •  Run your fingers over the top of the fillets to check that all
  • the small bones have been removed.
  • Cut up the salmon into squares roughly 3 cm/11/2 inch in size – they need to be cooked quite quickly so mustn’t be too large.
  • Put them in a bowl and add the olive oil. Turn the salmon carefully until it is well covered.
  • Tip the salmon into the bowl with the herb and spice mix.
  • Again turn the salmon carefully until all the pieces are well covered in the mix.
  • Pour a couple of tablespoons of oil into a large frying pan.
  • When hot transfer the “blackened” salmon to the pan and fry for 4–5 minutes.
  • Check for doneness, try not to overcook; it’s better that some pieces are slightly underdone – they
  • continue to cook a bit off the heat.
  • Serve over a steaming dish of brown basmati rice.
  • Don’t forget the sauce!

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