Herbed fish cakes w/ horseradish yogurt and root mash

by AdamB

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The Borough Hall farmer’s market sprang back to life last weekend, with a lot more than the usual winter fare of apples and hard cider.  Okay, neither of those is a bad thing!  But now there are baby yellow carrots, tiny turnips and plenty of fresh herbs. The info table happened to have a recipe for pan-fried fish cakes without breadcrumbs — perfect for Passover.   I tried adding a little potato and making in steamer.  They came out really nice — plump, bound well and very full of fresh fish and the spring flavors of cilantro and red onion.  This recipe is versatile. Any type of white-fleshed fish works, as does any root vegetable. I am looking forward to making it into wantons next time.

Makes 6 or 7 good sized cakes.  Serves 3 or 4 people. 


Fish cakes

.75 pound monkfish fillet, chopped in chunks (cod or halibut are good subs)

1 small red onion, peeled and chopped

.5 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 medium Yukon Gold potato, peeled and halved

1T olive oil

salt + pepper

Lettuce leaves


.5 cup Greek yoghurt (low-fat or non-fat is fine)

2T prepared white horseradish (Gold’s is the classic)

juice of half a small lemon


1 1b turnips, peeled and chopped (parnsips, cauliflower or yellow carrots are good subs)

several baby carrots or parsnips (if from farmer’s market, rinse but do not peel)

4 cloves garlic, peeled and halved

1T olive oil

fresh parmesan or pecorino


salt + pepper


Preheat oven to 400.  Set salted water to boil in a small sauce pan.

Boil Yukon Gold potato for about 15 minutes, until quite soft.   Move potato to glass bowl and set aside for the fish cakes.  Reserve the cooking water.


Toss root vegetables, carrots and garlic in a large mixing bowl with olive oil, salt, pepper and oregano.  Lay on a baking sheet topped with greased foil.  Bake about 40 minutes, until vegetables are brown and garlic is soft.


Set carrots aside.  Pulverize root vegetables, garlic and a small piece of parmesan or pecorino in a food processor.  Mix in 1T olive oil and a small amount of cooking water — mix should have the consistency of mashed potatoes.  Add salt, pepper and/or cooking water to preference.  Dump into a medium sauce pan and set aside.

Make sauce while vegetables are roasting.  Mix yogurt, horseradish and lemon juice well in a small bowl.   Add salt and pepper to taste.  Cover with plastic wrap and leave in fridge.

Make fish cakes.   Pulse onion and cilantro a food processor until finely chopped – but do not puree.  Move vegetables to a mesh colander, salt and let sit over sink to drain water.  Meanwhile, pulse fish in food processor into tiny chunks — again, do not puree.   Now pulse in potato and olive oil, until just blended.   Stir together fish-potato mix and onion-cilantro mix in a large bowl.  Use a wooden spoon to mix well.

Fill about 3/4 of large saute pan with water and bring to boil.  Meanwhile, line a basket of bamboo steamer with lettuce leaves.  Use a .25 measuring cup to scoop fish mix into little balls and drop into the steamer.  Wet hands and use to smooth out any odd edges of fish balls.  Cover steamer and cook about 10 minutes.

Reheat carrots in a toaster oven.  Meanwhile, heat mash on stove — you may need to add cooking water.

Makes pools of hot mash and horseradish yogurt on a medium plate, garnished with carrots.  Drop hot fish cakes onto a fresh lettuce leaf and serve immediately.