32 Grenville Street M4Y 1A3



Christopher Greaves

Fish Cakes

It may not have escaped your attention that I shy away from recipes that say “Take one pound of fish and two medium-sized potatoes” or worse “Take one pound of fish and two medium-sized potatoes, three if they are smaller than usual”. Mixing discrete weights like “pounds” with vague and subjective measurements like “medium” is like mixing a pound of apples with a medium supply of oranges.

(If I got that right).

Christopher Greaves FISHCAKES_GEDC1782.JPG

Here are two packets of frozen cod; about the cheapest de-boned white fish on the market, I know, because I paid for them. I am making fish cakes on a whim, and did not take the packets out to thaw overnight (“If only I’d thawed ahead of time ….”) so they are sitting in the steel sink, an excellent heat source.

The packets each say 400 grams, so 800 grams of cod fillets is in the recipe.

Christopher Greaves FISHCAKES_GEDC1783.JPG

Three baking potatoes; they mash easily when boiled. This one weighs in at 320 grams. Together they came to 1,000 grams or roughly equal in weight to the fish.

If you are not in possession of Delicate Scientific Apparatus such as mine, hold the fish in one hand, the potatoes in the other, if they feel about the same weight, it’ll be all right.

Christopher Greaves FISHCAKES_GEDC1784.JPG

Two onions. This one is 180 grams.

Christopher Greaves FISHCAKES_GEDC1785.JPG

This one is 180 grams. Together them came to 360 grams. Roughly equal in weight to one packet of fish (Please refer to “Delicate Scientific Apparatus ” above).

Christopher Greaves FISHCAKES_GEDC1786.JPG

I cut each potato into six chunks and bring them slowly to the boil.

Christopher Greaves FISHCAKES_GEDC1787.JPG

While waiting I cut the onions into shards.

Christopher Greaves FISHCAKES_GEDC1788.JPG

The shards can sit in a bowl until needed. I think that today is the first time I’ve used the word “shards” twice in a single day (*) in a photo-essay on cooking fish cakes!

Christopher Greaves FISHCAKES_GEDC1789.JPG

Here’s the egg, bringing itself up to room temperature.

Christopher Greaves FISHCAKES_GEDC1790.JPG

Too late I remembered that these fillets are frozen inside an interior plastic bag; it would take the rest of my life to thaw them out insulated like that.

I extracted the inner bag from the outer bag and tossed the outer bag to one side (the outside!) and continued thawing the inner bag in a basin of water.

Christopher Greaves FISHCAKES_GEDC1799.JPG

The potatoes having boiled to a soft consistency I strain their water over the onions. There’s be enough heat to soften the shards (Three times!) enough to mix them in to the mixture later on.

Christopher Greaves FISHCAKES_GEDC1800.JPG

The potatoes I mash immediately. I find it easier to mash them when they are hot.

I add salt, pepper, dried parsley, and anything else that takes my fancy.

I do NOT add the egg until the mixture is cooled. Otherwise I’ll end up with scrambled egg in my potato dough.

Christopher Greaves FISHCAKES_GEDC1801.JPG

Here’s the peppered mashed potato cooling off in a mixing bowl.

Christopher Greaves FISHCAKES_GEDC1802.JPG

The fish fillets are thawed, so I drain them and toss them into a pan of water, and bring it to the bowl slowly.

Christopher Greaves FISHCAKES_GEDC1803.JPG

Bored out of my mind, I break the egg into a bowl.

Still bored, I build a water fountain for the cats.

Christopher Greaves FISHCAKES_GEDC1804.JPG

The fish comes to the boil; a frothy surface tells me that the fish is au point, as the English say when they are showing off.

Christopher Greaves FISHCAKES_GEDC1805.JPG

The water is strained off (tempting to put it in the cat’s water fountain, but I refrain….)

Christopher Greaves FISHCAKES_GEDC1806.JPG

The fish mashes easily and quickly into flakes. You thought I was going to say “shards”, didn’t you? Well I shardn’t!

Christopher Greaves FISHCAKES_GEDC1807.JPG

The mashed potato dough is added ….

Christopher Greaves FISHCAKES_GEDC1808.JPG

The onions are strained and added …. The whole lot is mixed up, the egg is mixed in ….

Christopher Greaves FISHCAKES_GEDC1809.JPG

I used bran because I couldn’t find the jar of bread crumbs. If you want to know how it worked out, Contact Me . If I don’t reply it might be because I didn’t survive.

I have four flattened cakes which I will fry lightly both sides until brown, sitting there off to the side.

I have fifty-four fish-cake balls, each about one inch diameter, which I will freeze, then thaw and flatten as required.

(*) apart from slipped-finger typos when I meant to type “shreds”


416-993-4953 CPRGreaves@gmail.com

Toronto, Friday, August 14, 2015 1:06 PM

Copyright © 1996-2015 Chris Greaves. All Rights Reserved.