salmon fishcakes

have just bought a brand shiny new magimix food processor. it cost me a proverbial arm and a leg but, seeing as i say something like ‘i really need a food processor’ with varying degrees of frustration about four times a week, i thought it was about time to make an investment. i even haggled for it, in a slightly nervous, totally unconfident way – and when the shopkeeper agreed easily to my offer, i immediately regretted not being more brazen. that’ll learn me.

incidentally, i think my penchant for repetition is getting worse as i get older. there are phrases and stories i repeat so frequently that it has become a joke (i can see r’s lip curling into a wry smile even as i write this).

these include:
  • crap jokes about shallots every time i chop one, which is quite often (that’shallot);
  • seeing evan davies on tv, him of radio 4's today programme, and saying: 'he's gay. x had a drink with him once in soho'. 
  • apocryphal stories about my youth: How We Got Snowed In In The Cottage In The Mountains (“It’s Not a Cottage, Really”); How We Went Skiing (Every Season), sometimes accompanied by finding a season pass from 1990/91 with a black and white photo of me looking superbly maudlin); How We Listened to Punk&Hardcore&Wore Black, etc.
anyway...having lugged the magimix back home from the shop – it's pretty heavy – i was determined to use it that very same night. of course, i couldn’t remember any of those amazing recipes that i’d often thought of making but couldn’t because i didn't have one. and the only thing i had in the fridge were salmon steaks. 

so i thought the obvious: fishcakes.

i’ve been thinking about fishcakes for a while, as one does. it’s a natural reaction to eating salmon quite often. it gets a bit boring just grilling or pan frying it. okay, in the end the crispy skin is worth it every time but sometimes it's nice to try something different.

now if you think fishcakes, what’s the first thing that springs to mind?

big, slightly dry, more-potato-than-fish pseudo-gastro-pub-in-the-provinces menu? well, not these. no potato, no flour, nothing but salmon and some veg and herbs. not entirely sure why they stick together without egg or flour to bind them but they do and they’re bloody nice.


750g salmon fillets
1 level tbs of shallot chopped into very small dice
1 level tbs of pepper chopped into very small dice
1 small garlic clove, chopped finely
a pinch of chilli flakes (optional)
1tbs capers
1tbs wholegrain mustard
½ lemon zested
a squeeze of lemon juice (1/4 lemon)

first, chop the salmon into large pieces, skin and all, and pulse in a food processor (wooohooo) a few times – you don’t want mush, you want them chopped quite finely so don’t overdo it.

heat a little oil in the frying pan and gently fry the onions and the peppers for a couple of minutes, then add the garlic and the chilli and cook until the veg is soft but not brown. turn the heat off and leave it to cool a little. season with some pepper and maybe a little salt, depending on how salty your capers are.

in a large mixing bowl, use your hands to mix the salmon and the rest of the ingredients. form into balls, somewhere between a golf and a tennis ball.

heat oil in a frying pan until hot. place each ball in a pan, squashing it down so it’s about an inch thick. sear for about a minute on each side. you don’t want to overcook them as they will dry out too much. maybe test with a smaller ball first and see how you fare. 

eat with copious amounts of chilli sauce.


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