Not only do homemade fish cakes taste miles better than store-bought ones, but if you make your own you know exactly what goes into them: the cheap factory-made ones can often be filled with things you’d rather not eat.


  • Pan-frying is all about carefully controlling the heat under the pan. In this case, even though the potatoes and salmon are cooked, the egg that binds everything together has to be cooked through. Make sure the heat is high enough so there is a nice, even sizzle but low enough so the cakes brown evenly and don’t burn – they should take a full 4 minutes or so to brown on each side.
  • The potato and egg act as a binder in this recipe so you can add just about anything instead of the salmon; from cooked veggies like leek and mushrooms, shredded cooked chicken or any leftover grilled fish you might have.
  • If you use pantry staples like canned salmon this recipe is a fantastic quick dinner made with ingredients that are always on hand.
  • This recipe is so tasty that it’s a really good idea to double or triple the quantities and freeze batches (without flouring the cakes) for another day – just make sure you defrost them thoroughly before using, then follow the cooking instructions below.


  • Bring a large pan of salted water to a boil.
  • Peel your potatoes and chop them into even-sized chunks. If using fresh salmon, rub the fillets all over with olive oil and a small pinch of the salt and pepper. Add the potatoes to the pan and bring back to a boil. Put the fish into a colander, covered with aluminum foil, and place it over the pan of potatoes. Turn the heat down and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, until the potatoes and fish are both cooked. Remove the fish from the colander and put on one side. If using canned salmon, drain and put to one side. Drain the potatoes in the colander, then return them to the pan and let them steam dry.
  • Pick the parsley leaves and finely chop them, discarding the stalks. Mash the potatoes, spreading the potato around the sides of the pan to help it cool down quickly. Remove any skin from the fish. When the potato is completely cool, put it into a bowl and flake the fish into it with 1 tablespoon of flour (if you’re using canned salmon, simply drain then add it to the potatoes). Add the egg and chopped parsley with the remaining salt and pepper. Zest one lemon, then add to the fish mixture and mix it all up well.

To make your fish cakes

  • Dust your work surface with flour. Divide your fish cake mixture into 4. Lightly shape and pat into patties about ¾-inch thick, dusting them with flour as you go. Get yourself a plate or tray, dust it with flour, and place your fish cakes on top.
  • If you’re going to freeze them at this point, wrap them in plastic wrap and put them into the freezer. Otherwise simply pop them into the refrigerator for an hour before cooking – this will allow them to firm up slightly.

To cook and serve your fish cakes

  • Put a large frying pan on a medium heat and add a lug of olive oil. When the oil is nice and hot, add your fish cakes and cook for about 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until crisp and golden – you may need to cook them in two batches. Serve straightaway, with lemon halves for squeezing over.


Serving suggestions: Fish cakes go really well with Lemony green beans, Caesar on the lighter side, Basic broccoli, Everyday chopped green salad, or Flash-sautéed collard greens.

Tips from the dietitian:

  • You don’t only get calcium from dairy products - canned salmon, almonds and dark leafy vegetables are also a good way to get calcium into your diet.
  • This dish has protein and carbohydrates in one. Add some greens for a balanced meal.

Food safety:

  • Store raw meat and fish on the bottom shelf of your fridge, and store food that is ready to be eaten whether it’s salad, cheese, dairy or cooked food on the shelves above. This is so the juices from the raw foods can’t drip onto cooked foods and cross-contaminate them.
  • If you’re preparing raw meat, chicken or fish on a chopping board, wash the board, the knife and your hands thoroughly afterwards so that the bacteria doesn’t spread onto food that is cooked or ready to eat. Some restaurants have different colored chopping boards for raw and cooked foods, or for meat, fish and vegetables, to minimize the chances of this happening. These are readily available from loads of home and kitchen stores so you might like to try this at home.

Nutritional coding uses canned salmon

hServes 4

¼ teaspoon of sea salt, plus an additional ½ teaspoon for salting the water
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
10 ounces Yukon Gold, russet or other mealy potatoes
1 pound salmon fillets, skin on, scaled and bones removed or 2 x 3¾ -ounce cans good-quality salmon
2 tablespoons olive oil
a small bunch of fresh Italian parsley
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
1 large egg
2 lemons


Large pan
Aluminum foil, if using fresh fish
Can opener, if using canned salmon
Cutting board
Potato masher
Measuring spoons
Plate or tray
Plastic wrap
Large Frying pan