Fish-less Fish Cakes

Fish-less Fish Cakes

We’ve all been there; you’ve panic-bought a couple of extra potatoes (because THAT’S what your life indoors depends on) and you’re noticing that they’re not exactly at their prime anymore. Time to use them up, yeah?

I’ve really gotten into making these potato cakes (basically a fish cake without fish- hence the name). The beauty is that it really doesn’t take much to make them delicious; just ensure that whatever you’re mixing in is small (or chopped up that way) to ensure a sturdy, independent potato cake that don’t need no man.

Boil ’em, mash ’em, mix in some tasty shit and let’s make potato cakes.

What you need for 9 cakes:

4 yellow potatoes

3 cloves of garlic- finely chopped

2 or so handfuls of frozen peas

3″ long block of bacon (ish)- cut into little cubes or about 4 slices, chopped up small

1/4 cup of cheese- I prefer west country aged cheddar or simply something with less moisture than the typical nuclear orange stuff – shredded or cubed small

Seasonings of your choice

1 egg

About 2 cups of bread crumbs (panko are best here)

How you do it:

Firstly, get the kettle on. Make a cup of tea, you can use the rest of the water to add to the pot that your potatoes will boil in (or skip the tea part, but know that I’m judging you for it).

Peel the potatoes, and KEEP THE PEELS for gods sake; I’ve got another recipe for those (did someone say bonus snacks?). After peeling, cut the potatoes into small chunks; I typically aim for .5″-1″.

Add the potatoes to the pot, pour over the water from the kettle (topping up from the tap to cover the potatoes if need be), salt the water and bring to the boil on a medium/medium-high heat. Boil these buggers until tender, about 15 or so minutes; (stab one with a paring knife- if the potato falls off the knife and back into the water immediately, they’re good). Strain and leave aside for a moment.

Take your now empty pot, whack it back on medium heat and add your chopped up bacon- keep the pot at medium/medium low to allow the bacon to render and turn crispy (because we’ll all know if you burnt it, Barbara). I like to add a small drizzle of olive oil to help this process along.

While your bacon is cooking, tip your potatoes into a large bowl and mash the living shit out them.

Season with salt and pepper, add a generous knob of butter and a splash of milk to loosen it up a bit. Get fancy and add any other seasonings or spices that you like. Paprika would be great, red pepper flakes would be fab, Oregano would be bougie. I use a special seasoning blend from the UK because I’m high maintenance.

Once your bacon is almost done, tip in your garlic and your frozen peas. The water that releases from the peas will help to de-glaze the pan a little but if you still find you’ve got some tasty goodness stuck to the pan, throw a drizzle of Marsala in there (or another wine, or stock, whatever I’m not your mother). Take off the heat.

Tip the bacon etc into the potatoes and stir to mix, then add your cheese; taste to adjust seasoning and pretend that you’re on the Food Network.

With slightly damp hands, start making cakes (or roundish patties) out of the mix and pop on a lined baking sheet as you go; I got 9 cakes that were about 3″ wide and about .75-1″ thick but if you’re more delicate than that, make them smaller.

Once all formed, chill the cakes as you prep the egg and breadcrumbs (good luck finding space in the fridge). Just beat an egg in a shallow dish, and in a second shallow dish, dispense your breadcrumbs, season with salt, pepper and other spices and give a quick stir to mix the dry ingredients.

Get your beauties out of the fridge; with one hand, pick up a cake and lightly coat it in the egg – move it to the breadcrumbs and use your other hand to handle the cake in the breadcrumbs and back to the baking sheet (keeping this ‘one hand wet, one hand dry’ method just means less mess and I think we can all get behind that). Once all are coated, wash your god damn hands and put the cakes back in the fridge for about 10 minutes.

Place a large frying pan on medium heat; add a knob of butter and a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Once melted and starting to bubble, get your cakes out of the fridge.

I only like to cook the ones that I intend to serve right then (I typically serve 1 or 2 per portion). Any extras can be wrapped and frozen at this point.

Place cakes in the heated pan and cook for a few mins per side at medium heat, or until golden on both sides. I like to place the cooked ones in a low oven to keep them warm as I prep the side (bakes beans, what else)?

Serve, munch, enjoy.

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