Desperado – Summer Smoked Fishcakes and Tomato Salsa

Every year for three months between February and Easter, a large tribe of my extended family descend on the Mornington Peninsula, near Melbourne, for our annual beach campathon. The weather is reliably pleasant, the immediate seaside location is sensational, the commuting distance back to Melbourne is short, and, most importantly, all of the tribe are keen on good food. The topic is never far away from our thoughts. What will we all make next weekend? Will we have a curry night?  Who wants some Mie Goreng for breakfast?  Where can we buy some decent fish on the peninsula? I need some sauerkraut  to go with my Kransky?  Whose turn to do the salt and pepper calamari?  On and on it goes. The wok is always out, we have two well set up kitchens, a BBQ, a large old retro fridge, and every kitchen gadget you can think of. Everything AND the kitchen sink.  All that sea air makes every one very hungry.

But travelling to and fro between two kitchens can make meal planning a little tricky. Returning last Monday, I was about to throw in the towel and considered a pub meal out. ( a desperate solution given that I live in a Culinary Black Hole)  Then I found a simple little recipe in a favourite book which I knew would only take 20 minutes to throw together. Nick Nairn saved the day.

Hot Smoked Salmon Fishcakes with Tomato Salsa   for two mains, or 4 starters.

  • 300 grams mashed potato ( I used Dutch Creams )
  • 150 grams hot smoked salmon in a piece, flaked
  • 2 spring onions, finely sliced
  • juice of a lemon
  • sea salt and ground black pepper
  • seasoned flour for coating
  • butter for frying

For the Salsa

  • 6 small  tomatoes, heirloom or vine ripened, cut into eighths
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped or sliced
  • 1 garlic , finley choopped
  • 1 – 2 fresh chilli, finely chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons EV olive oil
  • juice of 1 lime
  • coriander roughly chopped- optional)
  1. To make the salsa, mix all ingredients and set aside.
  2. Mash the potato with a little butter, then add spring onions, flaked salmon, and squeeze the lemon juice into the mix. Fold together till of a suitable consistency and season.
  3. Shape the mixture into four fishcakes . Dip each side into seasoned flour.
  4. Melt the butter in a frying pan and fry the fish cakes for 3- 4 minutes each side until a golden colour . Keep warm.

To serve, Place a dollop of salsa on each plate and place a fishcake in the centre (or two for two mains) . Use the spare dressing to drizzle around the plate.

I have adapted this from Nick Nairn’s Top 100 Salmon Recipes. ( 2002) by altering the ratio of potato to smoked salmon. Scottish comfort food goes Asian – perfect.


11 thoughts on “Desperado – Summer Smoked Fishcakes and Tomato Salsa”

  1. I love that book of Nick Nairn’s… such a simple and delicious recipe, Francesca. Hope you had a great break!


  2. Just because you’re camping doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat well!! The fish cakes sound simple and delicious. I made something similar the other day with leftover seasoned sushi rice and smoked trout. I’ll keep your little wonders in mind!


    1. Some nearby campers have varying approach to food. Some see it as a chance to eat junk food all weekend or dine out. One really good set up have their own Pizza oven! One chap fishes for snapper all weekend, comes back and fillets them for his freezer. I should put my hand up for the head and bones for a nice stock.


  3. Forgive me if this is a dumb question – but what do you mean by hot smoked salmon? As in you buy a cold smoked piece and heat it? A fillet you smoke yourself? Either way sounds delish. I am going to try venture down for a camp next weekend! Fingers crossed!!

    Also, coriander should not be optional!!! 😉


    1. Hot smoked fish can be bought in a slab from the cold section of a supermarket. It is Tasmanian salmon smoked in a piece- like a fillet of fish. It is usually round $9.00, not so economical, but when flaked into a fish cake or a cullen skink, or tossed through a pasta with some fronds of dill and capers, hmm, it seems worth the expense.


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