We’re Cooking: Salmon and Halibut Fish Cakes with Basil Pesto Aioli


I had some poached salmon left over from our dinner party the other night, as well as a piece of halibut I had poached and frozen a few weeks ago, so decided to make a few fish cakes for appetizers for another gathering last night. Give your self some time on these as they aren’t the quickest preparation, but the end result is delicious. I mixed a quick basil pesto mayo with lemon and a touch of white wine to go with them…delicious.


Fish Cakes with Basil Pesto Aioli
10 ounces of fish, poached completely in white wine and herbs – we used the combination of salmon and halibut, but any flaky white fish will work
1/2 purple onion, minced
2 celery stalks, minced
2 eggs, whisked
2 slices white bread, soaked in water or milk until mushy and rung out + 1/2 cup dried bread crumbs or panko
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon each salt and pepper
1/2 lemon, zest and juice
1 lime, zest and juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil and parsley
1/2 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 cups vegetable oil

For the sauce:
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh basil pesto
1/2 tablespoon Dijon
1 1/2 tablespoons white wine
Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
Pinch salt and pepper
1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil

IMG_8940Flake the poached fish with a fork or your fingers and toss in a large mixing bowl. Add the onion, celery, herbs, red pepper, lemon, lime and salt and pepper and combine loosely. Fold in the bread, egg, mayo and Dijon, stirring to combine. Place in the fridge for about 20 minutes to help the mix set. Meanwhile whisk together the ingredients for the sauce and refrigerate until ready to serve. Pour the oil into a large frying pan over medium heat. When ready to fry test the oil with a bit of batter to see if it pops (that’s a good thing, but don’t get it too hot…should take just a few minutes to bring the oil to temp.).

IMG_8942If the batter is a bit loose fold in the dried bread crumbs, a bit at a time until the batter is stiff, you don’t want watery batter.  Drop heaping spoonfuls (a small ice cream scoop helps create uniform fish cakes, if you like.) Fry until golden brown on both sides, flipping once. Remove from the oil and place on paper towels to help remove excess oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Serve immediately or keep warm on a rack in a low oven. Serve with the sauce on the side in a heaping pile.