Tangy, herby fishcakes with an enjoyably bouncy texture – an easy recipe with plenty of contemporary appeal. It is great for novice hosts, but because the cakes are fried at the last minute, this starter should ideally be followed by something that is ready, like slow-roasted pork shoulder, resting in the oven – which it will go very well with. Alternatively, put on the table as part of a sharing menu.
- Roughly chop the fish by hand or in a food processor, until it is a lumpy mash, then put it in a bowl and mix with the egg whites, garlic, coriander, lemongrass and fish sauce. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Shape 14–16 cakes with two dessertspoons: scoop up one spoonful of the mixture then transfer it to the other spoon. Repeat this a couple of times and you will have a smooth, oval lozenge or ‘quenelle’ shape. Place on a plate then repeat with the remaining mixture until it is all used up.
- Combine the salad leaves, coriander and radishes. Put the Shaoxing wine, fish sauce, lime juice, soy sauce and honey into a small bowl or cup and whisk together. Set to one side.
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan until it sizzles when you add a small pinch of the fishcake mixture. Fry the fishcakes on all sides for about 3 minutes, until golden brown – keep the hob heat moderate; do not let the oil get too hot. Drain on kitchen paper then serve with the salad in individual bowls. Spoon some dressing over each and serve straight away.
- 800g boneless, skinless white fish fillet (haddock, cod, plaice, monkfish or other)
- 2 egg whites
- 4 garlic cloves, grated
- 2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
- 2 tbsp very finely sliced lemongrass
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- groundnut or sunflower oil, for shallow frying
For the salad and dressing
- 4 handfuls of mixed salad leaves
- 4 sprigs coriander, leaves only
- a few radishes, sliced
- 2 tbsp Shaoxing wine
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 4 tbsp fresh lime juice
- 2 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 tbsp honey
Individual shallow bowls or plates
Replace the white fish with roughly chopped raw prawn meat.
Recipes are from Dinner & Party by Rose Prince. Published by Seven Dials, RRP £25 hardback, from all good booksellers.