Crispy fish cakes and aioli is a winning combination. We’ve simplified this Italian sauce by using mayonnaise as a base rather than starting from scratch with egg yolk and olive oil.
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 pound Yukon gold potatoes peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 12 to 16 ounces white fish fillets such as pacific cod, lingcod, or rockfish, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 12 to 16 ounces keta salmon, skin and pin bones removed, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1 large garlic clove, grated
- ½ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup minced shallot
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
- 4 large eggs, beaten, divided
- 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
- Neutral oil such as canola or grapeseed for sautèing
COOK THE POTATOES AND FISH
Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the potatoes and cook until tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, 7 to 10 minutes. Add all of the fish to the potatoes and cook on medium heat just until cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes. Drain, shaking off any excess water, then transfer to a bowl to cool slightly.
MAKE THE AIOLI
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, garlic, lemon zest, and lemon juice, and whisk until smooth. In a steady stream add the olive oil, whisking constantly until glossy and creamy. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
FORM THE FISH CAKES
Coarsely mash the fish and potatoes and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the shallot, parsley, half of the beaten eggs, and ¼ cup of the panko and stir to combine. Let sit 5 minutes for the mixture to set, then form into 16 (2-inch) cakes. Coat with the remaining beaten eggs and panko, pressing to adhere.
COOK AND SERVE
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat a thin layer of neutral oil until shimmering. Add the fish cakes, in batches if necessary, and cook, turning once, until deeply golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Add more oil as needed between batches. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with salt.
Serve the fish cakes with the aioli alongside. Garnish with parsley and enjoy!
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Pair it Up
Match the simple elegance of these fish cakes with any sparkling white or rosé. No need to spend big bucks—there are many options under $20.
Level it Up
This simple aioli is a perfect canvas for embellishment. Stir in smoked paprika or minced chipotle for smoky heat, or some chopped fresh herbs for a bright grassy finish.
Change it Up
For a next-day breakfast transformation, sauté large pieces of fish cakes with bacon and top with fried or poached eggs. Runny yolks are a must.
Lighten it Up
Place the fish cakes on a baking sheet and generously mist with cooking spray. Slide onto the center oven rack and broil until golden and crisp, turning once, 3 to 4 minutes per side.
Know Your Cook
Culinary Director Grace Parisi is a cook, writer and cookbook author. Formerly the Senior Test Kitchen Editor at Food & Wine Magazine and Executive Food Director at TimeInc Books, her work has appeared in Cooking Light, Health, O Magazine, Epicurious, Fitness, Today, Serious Eats, Martha Stewart, and many more. She’s the author of more than 6 books, among them The Portlandia Cookbook and Get Saucy, which was nominated for a James Beard award for Best Single Subject Cookbook.