Fish Cakes

Polpette di Pesce

Mary Ann Esposito


Fish cakes are a frequent meal at our house during Lent. You can vary the type of fish, but I like using monkfish, which is very firm. Other choices include haddock and cod or even leftover cooked fish.


1 1/2 cups soft fresh bread crumbs
1/4 cup milk
3 large eggs
1/2teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
2 tablespoons grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1 pound fresh monkfish, haddock, swordfish, or cod fillets
3 cups water
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1 small carrot, peeled
1 small onion, peeled and quartered
1/4 to 1/3 cup King Arthur™ Unbleached, All-Purpose Flour
3/4 cup fine bread crumbs
2 to 3 cups vegetable oil, for frying
Lemon wedges


In a bowl, moisten the fresh bread crumbs with the milk. Mix in 1 egg, sea salt, pepper, parsley, and cheese. Set aside.

Place the fish in a shallow pan with the water, coarse salt, carrot, and onion; simmer until fish easily flakes, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Carefully lift the fish out of the water with a strainer, place in a bowl, and cool to room temperature. Dice the carrot and add to the bread crumb mixture. Discard the water and onion. Flake the fish with a fork, then add it to the bread crumb mixture and mix well.

Have ready a plate with the flour, and one with the fine bread crumbs. In a small bowl, beat the remaining eggs.

Divide the fish mixture evenly into 8 balls, forming them with your hands. Roll each ball in the flour and shake off the excess. Coat the balls in the beaten egg, then roll them in the bread crumbs, coating them evenly. Place the balls on a plate and press down slightly with your hand to flatten a little.

In a deep skillet or deep-fryer, heat the vegetable oil to 375ºF. Fry the fish cakes in the oil until golden brown, about 4 to 5 minutes. Drain on brown paper and serve hot, accompanied by lemon wedges.

This recipe is from NELLA CUCINA by Mary Ann Esposito, published by William Morrow and Company Inc., in 1993.

item recipe is featured in Episode 0 of Season 0.

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  1. richard's avatar


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    can you use salmon to make the tuna fish cakes. also, you have a fantastic web site.

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