JThere are many benefits to buying whole fish, including being easier to identify freshness by the clarity of its eyes and scales and the color of its gills. If you have a fishmonger near you, ask him to fillet the fish, to save you the work, and be sure to take the head and skeleton home; buying fish like this also ensures that it’s fresher and tastier than fillets, which may very well have been cut days earlier. Make broth or simple today’s fish cakes from the meat on the head and skeleton; there are many near the base of the tail and the top and bottom of the head. Simply scrape out all the flesh with a spoon.
Croquettes are my favorite, and I’ve been making them since my first Spanish cooking days in 1997. Salting the fish mince before cooking firms up the texture and gives it a taste similar to a Spanish-style salted cod croquette. Get ahead by making the kibble mix up to 24 hours in advance, so you can simply shape and fry the kibble at the last minute. This recipe is for a small amount of croquettes only, and requires steaming or boiling a single potato, so to save energy, consider cooking more to serve as a side dish or to reheat later; In any case, always use an appropriately sized pan to avoid wasting energy.
1 teaspoon sea salt
90g minced fish
150g floury potatoes (desiree, king edward, maris piper), finely diced
2 spring onions (about 40g), finely diced
2 sprigs of parsley (about 5g), finely chopped stems, coarsely chopped leaves
1 pinch of chilli flakesor more to taste
1 small egg
3 tablespoons of breadcrumbs (optional)
1½ tsp oilfor frying
lemon wedgesto serve
Mix salt and minced fish and put in a colander to drain for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, steam or boil the potato for 10 minutes, until tender. Drain, then mash with chives, parsley and chili flakes.
Squeeze the moisture out of the minced fish, then stir it into the potato mixture, along with the egg. Adjust seasoning to taste, adding black pepper and more chili flakes, if desired; if the mixture is still wet, add up to three tablespoons of breadcrumbs, so it is malleable. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, then divide the mixture into 12 and use two tablespoons to shape each piece into a rugby ball shape.
Put the oil in a small skillet over medium heat and when hot, fry the croquettes in batches, turning occasionally, for three to five minutes, until golden brown. Serve hot with lemon wedges.