November 7, 2015 — Dinner Party
‘…and I was like, “What, green, green fishcakes! Why are they green!?”. They seem as though they should be in a Dr. Seuss book, which makes them rather fun. Kids will find them funny too – read Dad’s story below about cooking this for my niece.’
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Makes 20 x 6cm x 2cm fishcakes
850g cod or other soft or flaky white fish
450g waxy potatoes – such as Charlotte
100g button mushrooms
2 small shallots
60ml white wine (optional)
125ml chicken stock
60ml double cream
1 bay leaf
1 tsp fresh thyme
1 tsp fresh or dried tarragon or dill or fresh fennel fronds
Salt and pepper
1 litre vegetable oil
1 small handful of flour
2 handfuls of panko breadcrumbs
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Green eggs and ham anybody?
As an American, my early reading material included Dr. Suess’ wonderfully surreal children’s books. Though Dr. Suess was not as popular in the UK, I bought the books for our own children. ‘Green Eggs and Ham’ was my favourite. The narrator (and main character of the book) is relentlessly pestered by another character, Sam-I-Am, who plies the narrator with green eggs and ham in a range of settings. On each occasion the narrator refuses with a rhythmic refrain: ‘I do not like green eggs and ham, Sam-I-Am. I do not like them here, I do not like them there, I do not like them anywhere.’
Naturally, I share the narrator’s suspicions about things which should not be green (i.e. eggs or fish cakes), but Dr. Suess also suggests we should not be judgmental about the unfamiliar. Eventually the narrator yields and finds the eggs and ham to his liking, ‘I do like green eggs and ham! Thank you. Thank you, Sam-I-Am.’
Mrs WDC and granddaughter arrive for lunch
Mrs WDC arrives at midday with our two-year-old granddaughter and announces, ‘Look, here’s grandpa – and we are very hungry!’ WDC kicks into action: what’s in the fridge? Leftovers; including fish, mushroom sauce, potatoes and a fair amount of spinach. You see where this is going? When all the leftovers were whizzed in the processor – out came the mixture for green fish cakes.
Lunch was ready in 15 minutes. Bless our granddaughter, she might have balked from the outset: ‘I do not like green cakes of fish, Grandpa-of-Mine. I do not like them here, I do not like them there, I do not like them anywhere!’
Instead, with a quizzical frown she scrutinised the green cake, blew a couple cooling puffs and popped a piece in her mouth. We watched and waited… Then came a satisfied smile and nod, as if to say, ‘I do like green cakes of fish! Thank you. Thank you, Grandpa-of-Mine.’
NB: This recipe does not use any egg to bind the mixture. The waxy nature of the potatoes will make a gluey puree when worked after mashing or ricing. This tendency helps to bind the mixture without egg. If your mixture is robust and stiff, the resting time can be reduced or eliminated – see story below.
A perfect winter warmer – Cassoulet!
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An excellent way to turn a popular Italian slow food standard into an easy and quicker family classic.
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