With the addition of a creamy walnut and horseradish sauce, Valentine gives a classic family favourite a tasty new twist, using hot smoked trout for a bold, satisfying flavour in his smoked trout fishcake. He said: “I love a fishcake, a stalwart of what we call comfort food. Often fishcakes are far too complicated with too many ingredients. I believe they should simply be about fish and potato.”
200g hot smoked trout, any bones removed
300g King Edward potatoes, peeled and chopped into pieces
3 tbps finely chopped curly parsley
½ tsp salt
Good grind of black pepper
2 tbsps sifted plain flour
Approximately 100g white breadcrumbs
Splash of sunflower oil
For the sauce
2 tbsps mayonnaise
1 tbsps crème fraiche
Grated zest of half a small unwaxed lemon
2 tbsps finely chopped walnuts
2 good tsps grated horseradish (not sauce) from a jar or 4 from fresh root
Set oven to 200c fan
Put the potatoes in a pan and cover them with cold water. Bring them up to the boil cooking for 10-15 minutes or until totally softened – a little overcooking is in fact good. Drain and allow to stand until cool and dry.
After having chopped the walnuts, gently toast them in a dry pan swirling them continuously, taking care not to burn, until they turn a shade or two darker and have a lovely toasted smell and then allow to cool. Combine all the other sauce ingredients, stir in the walnuts and leave to one side until fishcakes are ready.
Flake the trout into pieces into a bowl; add the chopped parsley, a good grind of black pepper. Add the potatoes, breaking them up as you add them to the trout. Combine everything well and season with a little salt to taste.
Fashion the cakes into a pastry cutter mould of approximately 6-7 centimetres. When forming the cakes they will need a little pressed a little and compacted to prevent them falling apart.
Put the flour on a plate, the breadcrumbs on another and beat the two eggs in a bowl. Flour both the flat sides of each fishcake, do not flour the edges. Now very carefully dip the floured sides in the egg and then lastly in the breadcrumbs, repeat until all cakes are made.
Put a small frying pan on the hob and melt 50g of butter combined with a splash of sunflower oil. The cake should sizzle immediately when it enters the pan. However do not cook them too fast and burn the breadcrumbs; regulate the heat accordingly.
Sauté the fishcakes for 4 minutes or so until a deep golden colour, turn over and fry for 2 minutes, then put the cakes in the oven for 6 minutes.
Serve with watercress and the sauce