Fish Cakes with Tartar Sauce

Light, fluffy and delicious.


For the fish cakes:

  • 450g sustainably sourced cod or haddock fillets, skinned
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 150ml milk
  • 350g potatoes
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest, finely grated
  • 1 tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 tbsp chives, snipped
  • 1 egg
  • Plain flour, for shaping
  • 85g breadcrumbs
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Lemon wedges and watercress, to serve

For the tartar sauce:

  • 125ml mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp capers, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp creamed horseradish
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp flat leaf parsley, finely chopped


  1. Begin by making the tartar sauce. Mix together the mayonnaise, capers, horseradish, dijon mustard, shallot and parsley. Leave to one side.
  2. Place your chosen fish in a frying pan and pour over the milk and water. Cover and bring to the boil, the lower the heat and allow to simmer for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to stand, still covered, for 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, peel your potatoes and chop into even-sized chunks. Pop them in a saucepan and cover with just enough boiling water. Add a pinch of salt, bring them to the boil and then allow them to simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Remove the fish from the pan and transfer to a plate. Drain the potatoes.
  5. Tip the potatoes back into their pan and mash them with a fork, stirring occasionally so they don’t stick to the pan.
  6. Beat in 1 tbsp of the tartar sauce, the lemon zest, parsley and chives. Season well to taste.
  7. Drain off any excess liquid from the fish, grind some pepper over the top, and flake it into big chunks. Add this to the pan of potatoes.
  8. Using damp hands, gently lift the fish and the potato together so that they just mix. Put to one side and allow to cool.
  9. Beat the egg on a large plate, and lightly flour a chopping board. Spread the breadcrumbs on a baking sheet, and divide the fish cake mixture into four equal measures.
  10. Lightly flour your hands and, on the floured chopping board, carefully shape the four equal measures into cakes about 2.5cm thick. One by one, sit the each cake in the egg and brush over the sides and the top so that it is fully coated.
  11. Transfer the cakes to the breadcrumbs, patting the crumbs onto the top and around the sides so that they are lightly covered. Transfer your cakes onto a plate, cover and chill for 30 minutes.
  12. Heat the vegetable oil in a large frying pan. Fry the fish cakes over a medium heat for about 5 minutes on each side, or until crisp and golden.
  13. Serve with the rest of the tartar sauce, lemon wedges and watercress.

Lead image: Sarsmis via Getty images.