Smoked haddock and nasturtium fishcakes recipe

This looks and tastes marvellous, with the peppery nasturtiums replacing black pepper in the fish/potato mix. Serve them with a really rich tomato sauce (tinned or fresh tomatoes and a slurp of olive oil reduced down to half it's volume, with a dash of red wine vinegar and some creme fraiche added as you serve.)

Serves 4

  • 500g undyed smoked haddock
  • About 500ml milk
  • A few black peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Some parsley stalks
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • A little olive oil
  • 4 medium-sized potatoes
  • Knob of butter
  • 1 egg yolk plus 1 whole other egg, beaten
  • 100g Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 15 nasturtium flowers, torn or roughly chopped
  • Seasoned flour
  • Breadcrumbs

Put the haddock in a shallow heatproof dish and cover with milk. Add the peppercorns, bay leaf and parsley stalks, and poach until just cooked.

Lift the fish out of the liquor, reserving this for later, and carefully flake with a fork, keeping the flakes as generous as possible. 

Fry the onion and garlic in a little oil until translucent.

Boil the potatoes until tender, drain and add a generous knob of butter and some of the reserved milk in which the fish was cooked.

Mash, but keep the mixture quite stiff.

Add the cooked onion and garlic and the egg yolk to the potato, together with some of the Parmesan, and season well with salt and pepper.

Very carefully fold in the flaked fish and some of the torn nasturtium petals, without mixing it up too much, and then shape the mixture into small round cakes. Cool in the fridge for a bit if you can. The fishcakes then hold together better.

Have three plates ready - one with seasoned flour, a second with beaten egg and a third with breadcrumbs mixed with Parmesan and nasturtium petals. Make sure that the fishcakes are lightly covered with the first seasoned flour, then egg and lastly the breadcrumb mixture.

Either shallow-fry or bake in an oven preheated to 190c/gas mark 5 until golden.

This recipe features on p202 of Sarah Raven's Garden Cookbook