12 January 2011

No-Fish Fishcakes with Garlic Hasselbacks

So what are no-fish fishcakes? They are my attempt (based, of course, on ideas from Niki Segnit) at creating crab cakes that Tom the fish-hater will eat. They are made from sweet potato, bacon, breadcrumbs, mayonnaise and lime juice, and are really quite good. Served (as they were) with garlicky Hasselback potatoes and caramelized onions, they were amazing - the combination of flavours was superb. I was very happy with last night's dinner, and I didn't even have to prise a crab into several pieces to make it.

This recipe isn't, however, quite perfect as is. The cakes were fairly soft, although it wasn't the end of the world. To create a cake that truly holds its shape, you could add perhaps a tablespoon of flour at the mixing stage, or (as Segnit suggests) deep-fry them. I'm currently struggling with a few concepts related to food texture, so if I come up with any other suggestions, I'll let you know.

Oh, and I fried the bacon in melted butter, just because. Oh my god, it smelt so good. No doubt it was particularly unhealthy, but it felt like a bacon-in-butter night, and I'm so glad I did it.

No-Fish Fishcakes with Garlic Hasselbacks
(Printable Recipe)
Serves 2
(Makes 9 cakes and 7 Hasselbacks)

7 small potatoes
3-4 garlic cloves
2 large sweet potatoes
1 pack bacon (10 rashers)
1 slice of bread
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 tablespoon lime juice
Butter (optional)

Balance each small potato in a wooden spoon and make cuts through it, as detailed here.

Nobody will know I re-used this picture from before.
Thinly slice the garlic cloves and put a sliver of garlic in between each 'chip' in the potatoes. One clove should be enough to stuff two potatoes.

Like this.
Put the potatoes on an ovenable tray, drench in oil, and heavily sprinkle with salt. Put them in the oven at 200 degrees (390 Fahrenheit) for forty minutes. (They will need extra cooking time, but we'll come to that later.)

Peel and dice the sweet potatoes and put them in salted boiling water over a high heat. Fry the bacon (in butter!) until it has reached the texture you like.

Make the bread into breadcrumbs - I used the blender - and put it a mixing bowl. Season.

Carefully remove the bacon from the buttery heat, allowing the fat to drip back into the pan, and either chop it finely or blend it into oblivion. Mix with the breadcrumbs.

The forty minutes' cooking time for the potatoes should be up around now. Turn the oven down to 150 degrees (300 Fahrenheit) and cook for a further thirty minutes, topping each potato with a pat of butter if you feel like it.

Back to the cakes:
Drain the sweet potato and mash it thoroughly, with a splash of milk if necessary. Tom swears that the secret to mashing is to keep mashing until it's smooth, and then mash for a minute longer. Tip the sweet potato into the bacon-breadcrumb mixture, and add mayonnaise, lime and more seasoning before shaping into cakes. I made nine, each of them a little smaller than the palm of my hand. Wrap the cakes in clingfilm and refrigerate for twenty minutes.

Flour the cakes very lightly on each side and cook in the buttery bacon fat from earlier, adding oil if necessary.

The cakes should only need two to three minutes cooking time, turning once. Make sure they are heated all the way through - as long as you don't actually burn them, it's probably better to over-cook than under-cook.

Serve with the garlic Hasselbacks and caramelized onions.