Mackerel fishcakes

Inspired by a River Cottage Everyday all about fish, I bought a whole smoked mackerel from the fishmongers with which to make some fishcakes.  I skinned the fish, and pulled chunks of  fish off the bones which is pretty easy with smoked fish, although I kept an eye out for the beasties, cos I hate fishbones (every time I eat fish I think of the Queen Mother choking on fishbones, and from a quick search, that happened when I was three. Go figure). On top of that was chucked a good couple of spoonfuls of leftover mash which was in the fridge.  Two sliced up spring onions (which if I’m honest, were a bit past their best) went in, and it all loosely mixed together so the mackerel stayed in smallish chunks rather than reduced to paste.

I tried to mentally divide the mix into four, and shaped each into little patties, and dusted them in a bit of flour as I shaped them.  But I ended up with four big and one teeny one. Ah well.

By themselves fishcakes are a little but dull however tasty the fish, so to go with them, a spicy little tomato sauce.  Into a little saucepan went a clove of garlic and two chopped shallots, a teaspoon-ish of paprika, and a carton of chopped tomatoes, plus a very little salt (the mackerel was quite salty already) and pepper.  10 mins of cooking, and off the heat I added a tablespoon-ish of parsley.  I’ve rediscovered curly parsley – I like the texture it gives, and it tastes a bit more of parsley than it’s flat-leafed sister, if that doesn’t sound too weird. I think it works better with stronger flavours, like the mackerel.
About 10 minutes on a low heat was enough to warm the fishcakes through and give a bit of a brown crust on each side, although the edges were still very soft, making them quite hard to turn in a snug pan of four.  I always add milk to my mash, which now that I think of it, probably explains why my fishcakes always turn out a bit mushy – I can never get them to be nice and firm and crispy.  They always come out like, well, fried mash.  But hell, they tasted good.
2 fishcakes on a plate, dollop of tomato sauce, and a squirt of lemon.  Yum.  

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