Winni’s St Helenian Fish Cakes

This recipe came to me from Mrs Winni Scipio in St Helena, who sent me a pungent package of extremely hot chillies, some of which I still had, several years later, bottled in oil. Mrs Scipio uses fresh tuna, but fresh mackerel, rainbow trout or salmon would be suitable alternatives.

Ingredients

  • lb / 680 g potatoes, peeled
  • 2 oz / 60 g back bacon, finely chopped
  • 1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3 small fresh chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp chopped thyme fat or oil for frying
  • 2 lb / 900 g skinned fish fillets
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Method

Boil and mash the potatoes. They should be smooth, but do not add any milk. Fry the bacon, onion, chillies and herbs in a little fat or oil without browning them, then transfer to a bowl. Mince the raw fish, add it to the bowl and mix everything well together. Add the beaten egg, and season to taste. Let the mixture rest for 10 minutes. Make into cakes in / 4 cm.deep and 2 in / 5 cm.across. Pour slightly less than 1 in / 2.5 cm.oil into a frying pan and, when hot, fry the fish cakes for 3 minutes on each side. They should, according to Mrs Scipio, be quite a dark brown colour when cooked.

Variations

Delicious tuna fish cakes can also be made using poached fish. Omit the bacon, herbs and egg, leave the chillies and onion raw, and mix these with the cooked, flaked fish and 2 lb / 900 g mashed potatoes. Shape into cakes, and fry as above. These fish cakes can be dipped in flour and then beaten egg and breadcrumbs before frying.

Make the mixture from 1 lb / 455 g cooked smoked haddock, lb / 680 g mashed potato, 8 oz / 230 g cooked leeks and 2 tbsp finely chopped parsley. Then fry this as one large cake, in an omelette or frying pan, for about 10 minutes on each side. Cut into wedges to serve. The other fish cake mixtures can also be cooked in this way.

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