Dill fish cakes recipe with parsnip purée

Neil Perry
Fish cakes with dill and parsnip puree.
Fish cakes with dill and parsnip puree. Photo: William Meppem

Looking for a lighter winter meal? Swap those rich glazes for a no less delicious winter meal of fish cakes - a perennial winner.


300g boneless white fish fillets, such as blue-eye

350g floury potatoes, such as sebago

1 small hard-boiled egg, finely chopped

1 egg yolk

1 spring onion, chopped

1 tbsp double cream

2 tsp Dijon mustard

1 tsp lemon zest, no white pith

½ tbsp chopped dill

½ tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley

1 tsp sea salt

freshly ground white pepper

plain flour, for dusting (use gluten-free flour if required)

vegetable oil, for shallow-frying

green salad, to serve

For the purée

30g unsalted butter, diced

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

½ brown onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, chopped

3 large parsnips, diced

1½ cups chicken stock or water (check gluten-free if required)

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

lemon juice, to taste


1. For the fish cakes, steam fish until just tender; the cooking time will depend on the thickness and type of fish, but about 5-10 minutes.

2. Cool until easy enough to handle, then flake into small pieces. Peel and chop potatoes, then steam for 15-20 minutes, or until very tender. Allow to cool slightly. Very roughly mash potatoes in large bowl, add flaked fish and remaining ingredients. Combine, but keep some texture.

3. Shape mixture into 8 patties then flatten slightly to measure about 5-6cm in diameter. If the fish cakes are too large, they will be too fragile to handle. Toss lightly in a little flour to coat. Place on tray lined with baking paper. Cover well with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

4. For the purée, heat butter and oil in a saucepan on a low heat. Add onion, garlic and salt to taste, cook for 8-10 minutes. Add parsnips, cook for a further 5 minutes, then add stock and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated and the parsnip is very soft, about 30 minutes. Season well, blend until very smooth and finish with a squeeze of lemon juice.

5. Put 1cm of oil in a large frying pan for shallow-frying. Heat oil until sizzling, add fish cakes, reduce heat slightly and cook until golden, about 3-4 minutes each side. Drain well on absorbent paper.

6. Spoon the purée on to four plates, place two fish cakes and some green salad on each, and serve.