This is actually a classical Danish dish. I was taught how to make it by my grandfather, whose ways of cooking was one of the very best things that he left me. A fine man altogether... well, that's an other story.
Fish cakes or "fish meatballs"... fiskefrikadeller. Most Danes consider fiskefrikadeller or fish cakes something you buy in the local super market. They're packed four and four in plastic, and look like plastic, but don't taste like plastic. Their taste reminds you more of the smell on a fishing peer than the smell of fresh fish. The dough used to make them is extremely finely ground, completely hiding the structure of whatever little fish there might be in them. No wonder so few people like them.
My fish cakes are made from fresh, gound or chopped fish, and taste like they should: of fresh fish.
- ½ kilogram (1 lb.) or a bit more of lean fish fillet without bones. Cod or similar white fish is best, but you can also use trout or pike or mix species.
- A bit of pork lard or (optional, but does make thye cakes very juicy!)
- One large or two small eggs
- One medium onion
- Cream or milk (approx. 1 cup)
- A bit of water
- Flour (a few table spoons)
- Salt, pepper, nutmeg
- Butter and/or olive oil for frying
You can vary this recipe in many ways. The easy one is mixing the species of fish. Use cod as the main ingredient, but add a bit of roughly chopped trout or salmon. It's looks beautiful, and tastes very well. You might stir in some chopped leek too. the green/pink/white of these meat balls is a feat to the eyes.
- You can mince the fish in a mincer - only once! Nowadays I rarely do this. I chop the fish with a sharp knife in stead, but I do have an old manual Husquarna mincer for the purpose
- Put the fish in a bowl
- Mince the lard or chop it VERY finely
- Grind or chop the onion too or - even better - shred with a shredder into the bowl
- Add a teaspoon of salt, some pepper and ½ teaspoon of ground nutmeg and stir
- Add the egg(s) and stir
- Add a bit of the flour and stir
- Add a bit of water - a couple of tablespoons
- Add all of the cream or milk and stir
- Add a bit more flour at a time, till the dough is suitable for setting like meat balls on a frying pan
- Let the stuff rest for 30 minutes
- Add more flour or milk if needed
- Heat a frying pan with mixed butter and oil on it
- Form the cakes in one hand using a large table spoon.
- Set the cakes in the hot butter
- Cook them for approx. 5 minutes on each side over fairly high heat. They must be brown and have a crust
- Serve with potatoes (mashed are very good), melted butter and sauce de remoulade or tartar sauce
In the winter you often get cod with egg sacks in them. Remove the eggs carefully from the sacks and mix the roe carefully into the finished dough based on pure cod. It looks nice and tastes very well.
These fish cakes also taste very well cold, cut into slices on rye or wheat bread.