Thursday, January 19, 2012

Crispy Roasted Fishcakes Wrapped in Bacon

Whenever we move houses, there are two books that come with me, in the suitcase, because I wouldn’t trust them to the shipment and I might need them right away.  This was especially true before the days of internet.  (And often the first weeks in a new home are like the days before internet.  We were fortunate here to have internet within a couple of days of moving in.  That doesn’t happen very often, believe me!)  My two essential books are the Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook, 1980 edition and my own binder full of personal, many irreplaceable, family recipes, collected over the last 30-something years.

This move, a couple of extra books joined that treasured literary pantheon:  Fried Chicken and Champagne and Jamie’s Great Britain, because they were much salivated over Christmas gifts and I couldn’t bear to put them in the shipment and not see them again for six weeks.  They have both been well-thumbed this last week and a half and now are duly bookmarked with sticky tabs. 

So many recipes I want to try!
Here, then, is the first attempt from my two wonderful gift books, a recipe adapted from Jamie.

100g or 3.5 oz smoked salmon
60g or 2 oz smoked herring fillets
(or 160g or 5.5 oz smoked fish of your choice – Jamie recommends just salmon or salmon and trout.  The herring fillets were a bit strong so I will probably try this again with just salmon.)
2 green onions (or more if yours are skinny)
Knob of butter 
Sea salt
Black pepper
340g or 12 oz potatoes
2 large eggs
1 small lemon
Handful celery leaves or flat leafed parsley
Handful plain flour
2 oz or 60g of breadcrumbs or 4 slices dry sandwich bread
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Olive oil
4 slices of bacon

Cut the root end off of the green onions and slice them finely.  Sauté with a knob of butter, a drizzle of olive oil to stop the butter from burning and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

Peel the potatoes and cut them in cubes.  Boil them in salted water until tender and mash-able.

Meanwhile, chop the smoked fish with a big knife.  Sure, you can do it with a small knife but it is not as satisfying as rocking a big knife under two hands. 

When the potatoes are cooked, drain them and mash them and leave them to cool a bit.

Chop your celery leaves or parsley.

Put your breadcrumbs (or four slices of sandwich bread) into the food processor with 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper.   Drizzle in a little olive oil while the thing is whizzing around until you have rough, ever so slightly moist breadcrumbs.

Break one egg into a shallow bowl.  Break the other egg and let the white fall into the same bowl.   Add the yolk to the cooled potato and mix thoroughly.

To the potatoes, add the fish, the green onions, the zest of your lemon, juice of half of your lemon and the celery or parsley.  Mix thoroughly.

Now divide your potato/fish mixture into four equal balls and shape them into patties.  Whisk your egg.

Now for my favorite part.  When I can add bacon to a recipe, I’m happy.  Spread a piece of cling film on your cabinet.  Add your bacon slices and top with another piece of cling film.  Using a rolling pin or wine bottle, roll your bacon to stretch it into longer pieces.   This really works!

Using your hands, lightly flour the patties and then put them into the egg.  Both sides.  This is going to get messy so don’t even try to keep clean.

Next pop them into the breadcrumbs and coat both sides well.  Return the patties to plate.

After all four are coated in breadcrumbs, wrap each one with a slice of bacon and secure with as many toothpicks as it takes.

Put them in the refrigerator until you are ready to cook them.

To cook:  preheat the oven to 425°F or 220°C.  Put the baking pan in to heat up.   When the oven reaches temperature, drizzle the pan with olive oil then put the fishcakes in the pan and drizzle a little more olive oil on their tops and bake for about 15 minutes. 

Remove from the oven and turn the patties over.  Cook for five or 10 more minutes or until they are crispy and browned all over.  

Serve with wedges of lemon.


Addendum:  I am adding this post to the #Cooked in Translation blog hop, so just a little information about that. The concept is simple:  Once a month on the third Wednesday we interpret a classic international dish through the lens of our own or another culinary tradition.  See who else has taken the challenge and add your own fishcake link below.  You can find the rules here.


  1. Oooh yum - they do look good!

  2. Thanks, Jan! They were good. Give them a try but maybe don't use the kippers, just smoked salmon and/or smoked trout.

  3. Soni/Soni's Food for ThoughtAugust 15, 2012 at 12:17 PM

    Looks delicious with that bacon wrapped around these cakes :)So yummy!

  4. Thanks, Soni! Everything is better with bacon. :)


Where in the world are you? Leave me a comment! It makes me happy to know you are out there.