Make Ahead


March 13, 2012
3 Ratings
  • Makes 18 fish cakes
Author Notes

I devised this recipe with no particular reference to anyone's work that I know. I made the fish cakes and the celery relish the day before but was not happy with how the flavors worked. The next day I was sharing the food with a friend - it had matured overnight and was really quite interesting. I chose the white fish because I wanted the right platform to allow the celery relish to star. The mayonnaise, which can be gourmet store-bought, should be creamy and thick (I mostly make my own). In making the relish, I found that the celery was a bit strong so I added the balsalmic vinegar and it transformed the dish overnight. All the components can be prepared the day before they will be eaten and will only need assembling right before serving to guests with the obligatory glass of Bollinger champagne. I grow thyme, chervil and lovage in my garden - I owe Kate Hill of Camont a great debt because it was her lovage there in her garden and in her cooking that caught my fancy last September. —krusher

What You'll Need
  • Fish Cakes
  • 500gms white fish fillets, bones removed, chopped in 3" pieces
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced finely
  • 3 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon young lovage stalks, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons cornflour
  • 2 tablespoons chives, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil such as canola
  • stalks from 1 celery bunch, cut into 2" lengthss
  • 1 leek, washed with outer leaves discarded, chopped in 2" lengths
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • Pinch sea salt
  • 1 handful chervil
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon white balsalmic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  1. Fish Cakes
  2. Add fish, egg white, lemon zest, garlic in food processor and pulse no more than 6 times. You need texture not mush. Combine the fish mixture thoroughly by hand with the parsley, lovage stalks, corn flour, chives, celery salt and white pepper.
  3. Form small fish cakes (a mouthful size) into flat round shapes (like a tiny hamburger) and put on a platter to rest for half an hour in the fridge.
  4. Heat the oil (Canola in a large non-stick frying pan to medium heat. Put half the fish cakes in and cook about a good minute or two on each side ensuring that they are cooked through. They should be slightly colored. One needs to be careful not to cook them too long as they will easily dry out.
  5. Set the cooked ones on paper towels while the second batch are being quickly browned on each side. If you are going to serve them shortly after cooking then pop the first lot in a warm oven. If you are serving them at another time, pop them all into the fridge in a sealed container when they have cooled down. You will need to heat them in a medium oven for 4 minutes just prior to when you are planning to serve them.
  2. Melt the olive oil and butter in a medium size saucepan. Add the leek, celery and thyme and cook on a relatively low heat until the leek and celery begins to soften. Pour in the chicken stock and turn up the heat to bring it to the boil. As soon as it boils, reduce the heat so that the mixture is slowly simmering,
  3. Add the chervil, balsalmic vinegar and sugar. Put the lid on the pot and let it braise until the celery is quite soft. The liquid should be thickening and adhering to the celery about the time the celery has finally given in and softened. If there is still too much liquid, remove the pan lid and cook it off. When ready remove the thyme sprigs.
  4. Blend the mixture briefly to a coarse texture in a small food processor. Taste to ensure that there is enough salt for your liking. Add if you think it needs it. Put the relish into a fine mesh sieve and let sit over a bowl to ensure all excess moisture is drained away. This relish improves remarkably by sitting in the fridge at least overnight.
  5. ASSEMBLY : you will need 1/2 cup of quality, high-end chilled mayonnaise and a small container of micro celery leaves. The fish cake is best served warm, the relish at room temperature and the mayonnaise chilled. Take each warm fish cake, top with a reasonable amount of celery relish. Delicately and artistically put 1/2 teaspoon of mayonnaise on top of the relish and top with a single vibrant green baby celery leaf.
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  • Lizthechef
  • inpatskitchen
  • krusher
  • boulangere

7 Reviews

Lizthechef July 21, 2012
Can't wait to try these...
inpatskitchen March 29, 2012
I too grow lovage and this looks like a perfect place for it.. Might I ask what whitefish did you use for the cakes? Lovely recipe!
krusher April 6, 2012
I used ling. It is a lovely white fish. I adapted the recipe to accompany pre-dinner champagne a few nights ago (finely chopped raw Atlantic salmon and avocado mixed with lime zest and chopped chives topped with a mild wasabi flavored home-made egg mayonnaise). Disappeared very quickly. Re lovage ... Kate Hill grows it profusely in her garden at "Camont" in Gascony in France. She uses it in her cooking a lot. I was struck by it when I was visiting her last year. Just google "Kate Hill" and Camont. She has a great blog.
krusher March 13, 2012
Sorry thought I had lost the first reply ... new to this ... and so started again. Feel quite foolish.
krusher March 13, 2012
I had a couple for my lunch today - 2 bursts of flavor. What I like about this creation is that the celery relish is front and center. The fish cakes are quite delicate providing a good platform for the piquancy of the relish. The cold creaminess of the mayonnaise is a luscious taste sensation to the tongue. It works quite well. The big thing is doing it a day ahead so the flavors can all embed nicely. Thank you for the comments about the instructions. I am new to writing up my recipes as precisely as they must be here - the bar is raised very high. I worked quite hard to get it all in the right sequence. Your comments have given me more confidence.
krusher March 13, 2012
I had a couple today for my lunch ... they are mini burst of flavor. What I like is that the celery relish is center stage. It is the burst of sharp yummie flavor. The fish cakes are the tasty quiet platforms. The chilled mayonnaise is a creamy overlay that finishes it all off. I worked quite hard getting it all to work together so I feel humbly very pleased.
boulangere March 13, 2012
Instructions don't get any better than this, but to be honest, you had me at "fish cakes."