The humble fishcake is a solid piece of British history. This substantial item has bolstered the menu of fish and chip shops up and down the UK for decades.
But not all fishcakes are created equally. Today, you’re as likely to find a gourmet fishcake on the menu of a white table-clothed Michelin starred restaurant in Mayfair, as you are at your end of terrace chippy in North Yorkshire. This hearty, wholesome, filling menu item can be as rugged and robust, as it can be delicate and refined.
However, we can't claim the fishcake as independently British, though we do consume them with more gusto than almost any other country. Some of the most popular variations of fishcake come from South East Asia. Countries like Thailand and Vietnam are responsible for small mildly spiced versions loaded with crustaceans like Crab and Langoustine.
The mighty fishcake is a way of making great tasting fresh fish go further in times of need too. Bulked out traditionally with potato, today we are seeing some innovative concepts utilising things like sweet potato, various root veg, and even pasta. We recently created a fast selling Mac ‘n’ Cheese Smoked MSC Haddock Fishcake that sits happily in any number of fast casual restaurant outfits – particularly those that have a focus on the current ‘dirty food’ obsession.
Like the Vietnamese Crab cakes mentioned earlier, which lend themselves well for canapés and starters due to their small portion size, our MSC Smoked Kedgeree Fishcake Balls make an impact in much the same way.
At the other end of the fishcake spectrum we have the refined flavours of Salmon, lemon and parsley; a classic combination that stands the test of time, and does well in pretty much any food service environment.
While we Brits have a strong love of the old fishcake, we don't seem too bothered about it’s make up or appearance. Some might contain peas and parsley, some even edge towards a variation on bubble and squeak. The shape is also of no direct importance, the rugged balled sphere is as common as the precise structure that represents a meaty hockey puck.
And it appears that while we British don't care about size (but if they are going to be small, we want at least 3 of them) we are happy to take them as they come. We don’t stand on parade for the fishcake, and it’s always a comforting, welcome addition to the table whether it comes adorned on a plate of fine china, or sits proudly on top of chunky dripping-cooked chips wrapped in paper. The fishcake, is an everyman food that we, quite frankly, can't get enough of.