A mid week meal solution that makes a little fish go a long way.
600g (1 lb 3 oz) mid-season potatoes 1 tsp salt Freshly ground black pepper to taste Finely grated zest 1 lemon 1 Tbsp capers, drained and chopped 1 Tbsp snipped chives 2 Tbsp chopped parsley 1 bunch spring onions (scallions), trimmed, sliced and finely chopped ¼ cup sour cream 2 size 6 (medium) free-range egg yolks 200g skinned and boned smoked fish (I buy a smoked fish fillet) ½ cup panko crumbs ¼ cup olive oil 2 Tbsp butter Mayonnaise, optional
1 Peel potatoes, cut into chunks, put them in a saucepan, cover with cold water, add a big pinch of salt and bring to a gentle boil. Cook at a gentle bubble until nearly tender. Drain, air dry for a few minutes, then transfer to a board. Crush with a fork.
2 When potatoes are cool, transfer to a large bowl. Add salt, pepper, lemon zest, capers, herbs, spring onions, sour cream and egg yolks. Gently mix together, just until combined. Add smoked fish and streak it through the potato mixture. Shape into 12 cakes, placing them on a plate as they are done – and don’t fiddle with this, just 12 roughish blobs will do – and refrigerate for 30 minutes or so.
3 Briefly whiz the panko crumbs in a blender or crush with the end of a rolling pin to make them finer. Put crumbs on paper towels. Coat hash cakes with crumbs. Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. When it is hot, swirl in the butter, then add fish cakes. Cook until golden on all sides, turning them carefully with two spoons.
4 Transfer to a serving platter and serve with lemon wedges, and if you want to be naughty (go on!) a dollops or two of a good brand of mayonnaise works a treat.
Treat the hash cakes carefully when frying them as they are soft and fragile. The best way to turn them is to do so with two spoons (tongs will crush them). Don’t worry if they become misshapen, as that is part of the look. A salad on the side is the perfect accompaniment, but asparagus, broccoli or broccolini also works a treat.