Twists on a classic fish supper

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A staple in many of the chippies around the city, this was one of the first dishes made by Stuart Archer when he arrived in Sheffield.

The MasterChef 2016 contestant submitted the recipe to the Sheffield CookBook: Second Helpings


1 large baking potato

1 tsp medium curry powder

50ml vegetable oil

150g smoked haddock

200ml whole milk

1 ts black peppercorns

1 bay leaf

150g frozen garden peas

40g unsalted butter

40g fresh tarragon, finely chopped

1 egg

100g plain flour

100g panko breadcrumbs

20g semolina flour

1 tbsp malt vinegar

Sea salt and black pepper


Cut the baking potato in half. Wrap half in cling film and set aside, then place the other half cut-side down on a microwaveable plate. Microwave for 5-7 minutes on high, until tender, then cool in the fridge.

In a small saucepan, mix the curry powder and the oil and heat gently for 2-3 minutes, then set aside to cool.

Put the fish in a saucepan and cover with the milk. Add the peppercorns and bay leaf, then simmer gently for 6-8 minutes, until the fish is flaky. Transfer the fish to a plate to cool, then remove any skin and bones, flake it with a fork and season. Sieve the poaching milk into a bowl and set aside for the peas.

Take the cooked potato and slice four discs from it, about 1cm thick, to make two fish cakes. In a deep ring mould, place one slice of the potato at the bottom, and spoon in about half of the flaked fish, pressing it down firmly so it sticks together. Place another slice of potato on top of the fish and press down firmly again, or else it’ll come apart when you cook it! Repeat for the second cake and put them in the fridge for 15-20 minutes to chill.

Meanwhile, boil the peas for 2-3 minutes, drain and rinse thoroughly with cold water. Place the peas into a blender with the butter, about three-quarters of the tarragon and about half of the strained milk. Blend until fairly smooth, adding more milk to combine if necessary, then transfer to a clean pan.

Crack the egg into a bowl and beat it together. Pop the plain flour and breadcrumbs into separate bowls. Carefully coat each fishcake in flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs. Heat the oil for deep-frying to 180°c, and deep-fry for 5-6 minutes until golden and crispy, then set aside .

Grate the remaining raw potato, and thoroughly mix with the semolina flour Deep-fry in the oil for 3-4 minutes until golden and crispy. Drain and transfer to a bowl. Mix with the vinegar and a generous pinch of salt. Shallow frying works too.

To serve, reheat the peas and season. Generously spoon onto a plate and sit the fishcake on its side in the middle. Place potatoes to one side, and drizzle over some of the curry oil. Garnish with remaining tarragon.