Fish Cakes with Homemade Tartar Sauce

These crispy fish cakes are flaky, flavorful, and delicious. Pair them with easy homemade tartar sauce for the perfect meatless supper.

By Yankee Magazine

Aug 19 2022


Fish Cakes with Homemade Tartar Sauce

Photo Credit : Kristin Teig

How a sacred fish, Yankee thrift, and Lenten tradition gave us a classic New England dish worth celebrating—and reinventing.

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Fish Cakes | Recipe with a History
How to Make Fish Cakes with Homemade Tartar Sauce | Step-by-Step


2/3 cup tartar sauce, 6 cakes (2 to 3 servings)

For the Tartar Sauce


1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 heaping teaspoon prepared horseradish
1 tablespoon spicy relish, drained (use sweet if you prefer)
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions
2 teaspoons flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Hot sauce, to taste


Mix all of the tartar-sauce ingredients together and set aside.

For the Fish Cakes:


1 pound skinned boneless hake filet (or another firm white fish such as haddock)
Olive oil
1 large russet potato
1 tablespoon homemade tartar sauce (recipe above), plus more for serving
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup chopped scallions
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Pinch cayenne pepper
All-purpose flour (for hands)
1 large egg, beaten
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
Lemon wedges


Preheat your oven to 400°. Pat the fish dry; then place it on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle lightly with olive oil.

Bake until cooked throughout, about 15 to 20 minutes. Cool completely.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Peel and chop the potato; then boil until tender, about 10 to 12 minutes. Drain and let it rest in the colander a moment or two; then return the potato to the pot over low heat to dry out, mashing and stirring to prevent sticking. Reserve one cup of mashed potato in the pot (discard the rest, or save it to eat later).

Add the tartar sauce, lemon zest, parsley, scallions, salt, pepper, and cayenne to the pot and mix gently, tasting until the seasoning is right.

With a fork, flake the fish into the potato and mix gently to combine. With floured hands to prevent sticking, shape the mixture into six 3-inch cakes.

Brush each cake with beaten egg and coat completely with panko crumbs. Arrange the cakes on a large plate and chill 30 minutes, or up to one day.

In a large frying pan, warm the vegetable oil over medium heat until very hot. Fry the cakes about 5 minutes per side, or until crisp and golden brown, working in batches if needed.

Drain on paper towels; then serve hot with tartar sauce and lemon wedges.