Wednesday 22 August 2007

Fish Cakes

Mostly I have no problem being an expat southerner in Yorkshire but there are two flies in the ointment. It isn't the beer, I like a nice Yorkshire bitter, even if it does on occasions mean asking them not to murder a southern guest beer with a tight sparkler. Or the people, they are friendly and the atmosphere is good. But the food; for the most part I enjoy it, but there is one area where I am considered a heretic and have to tread carefully to avoid being outcast.
That there should be such depth of feeling and holy war over the humble fish cake is as much of a mystery as how this normally sensible people got such a wrong idea about what one is ;-)
I can't quite put my finger on quite why the "Yorkshire Fish Cake" is so utterly wrong, I suppose food is just one of those inescapably subjective areas, but I can't be doing with their battered fish and potato sandwich when I crave a fish cake, I need the real thing.
It isn't even a difficult food stuff to get right, I will normally use haddock for mine and there is an easy variation in using a smoked fish and of course many other fish are suitable, I have on occasion even given into the modern temptation to use salmon.
The recipe is simply this: Combine ½lb haddock, steamed or poached then flaked off the bone and skin, ¾lb potatoes, coarsely mashed and knob of butter in a bowl. Season well, this is a good place to vary according to taste, a little chilli or some sweet paprika, a little dill, parsley or water cress for example, I could go on for hours at this point.
Shape into four cakes, dip into each into a beaten egg then cover with dry breadcrumbs (you'll probably need an ounce to cover each), chill until required (at least 10 minutes if to be used strait away) fry in a light oil.
The other? Well that isn't really an issue with Yorkshire, but where in it I chose to settle and quite how bloody far it is to find a nice bit of seaside.


Anonymous said...

Cakes? Made of fish?

Sarah Bell said...

That's not a fishcake, lad, that's a pattie.


Unknown said...

i agree with you 100% BUT in reverse, as an ex-pat yorkshireman living down south the one thing I miss is a good fishcake. I dont want a rissole from a chip shop, Its wrong.

Catherine said...

You can't beat the Yorkshire fishcake, it has crunch, texture, flavour - all the things that the southern rubbish lacks - it's like eating sawdust (and that even goes for across the border in Lancashire, and I'm half and half so used to both equally, and how I used to look forward to my time over the border in Yorkshire to get a real fish supper as opposed to the disaster they make of it across the border in it's closest neighbour, it's greatest rival. The further south you go, the worse it all gets: the beer gets weaker - watter thru' t Thames - the tea gets weaker and the fish cakes soggier. I'm in Hertfordshire at present so I really can compare and contrast! Visiting Yorkshire this weekend, actually, and looking forward to the people, the accent, the down to earth no nonsense of it all, a proper pub with atmosphere - and my Yorkshire fishcake!!!)