Fish cakes are actually a pretty common food staple around the world. Every culture seems to have their own rendition of the fish cake which differs slightly from region to region. More commonly, fish cakes that are found in North America are usually made with some kind of white flaky fish.
These types of fish can be anything from trout to haddock to cod fish to thai to tuna and are sometimes smoked or salted as well.
Even though there are many different types of fish cakes in the world, they are usually made with common ingredients of fish and potatoes. They were really created to help reduce food waste in kitchens or to utilize the leftovers from the night before.
The potato can also be some sort of breadcrumb or egg which is really just in place of the binder to get the fish to hold together. They are often deep-fat fried or pan fried and served with a sauce of the chef’s choosing.
Mainly, fish cakes are meant to be eaten as a snack or as an appetizer before the meal. That does not mean that they are not eaten as a main entrée dish though. This makes it a little difficult to figure out what to serve with fish cakes as an entrée.
Even though fish cakes are not usually eaten as the main course, they still can be and work well with a multitude of side dishes alike. The key is to pair the fish cakes with sides you would normally pair with the fish that is used in the cakes.
The fish commonly used in fish cakes is usually light and subtle in flavor. This means it needs some stronger flavors to accompany it or something to liven up the meal.
First and foremost, they need to have a strong-flavored sauce alongside the dish. A homemade tartar sauce or remoulade will work best to contrast the light and flaky fish within the cakes.
As for the side dish, you can really go two ways, light or heavy. If you like to keep it healthy then any number of fresh salads or roasted vegetable medley will work nicely with the fish cakes.
If you want something a little more wholesome then try going with wild rice pilaf or an herb-roasted potato side. Either way, you just cannot go wrong with any of the following options.
- Best Sauces To Serve With Fish Cakes
- Best Sides To Serve With Fish Cakes
- What Should I Serve With Fish Cakes As A Starter?
- Top Wines To Serve With Fish Cakes
- Best Desserts For Best Taste And Flavor
- Final Words
Best Sauces To Serve With Fish Cakes
This sauce is going to be the number choice of condiment to serve along with the fish cake. You could always just buy some in the store already premade, but it really is very simple to make.
Essentially it is just a mayonnaise-based sauce with chopped onions, chopped pickles and lemon juice. You can add all different kinds of seasonings like garlic powder, old bay seasoning and ground paprika to spice up the sauce a bit as well.
This is another great sauce that can accompany the fish cake. Usually, this sauce is served with another type of fish cake, which is predominantly other types of seafood. Crab cakes and shrimp cakes are just a subcategory of the fish cake but still pretty much the same thing.
Usually, these types of fish cakes are served with a remoulade sauce versus tartar sauce. In all reality, it really just depends on what you like.
This is still very similar to a tartar sauce but also has some additional ingredients. Other ingredients are added to the mix such as ketchup, Worcestershire sauce and tabasco. These stringer flavored ingredients elevate the sauce and make it a completely different type of sauce that can be enjoyed with any type of fish cake.
Best Sides To Serve With Fish Cakes
3.Fresh Garden Salad
It’s no big secret that a fresh garden salad and fish go together quite nicely. It really does not matter the type of vegetables you put in the salad or the type of dressing you decide to use. Just go with what you like to put in your salad usually.
If it were me, I would use some kind of a vinaigrette like a red wine vinaigrette dressing loaded with lots of cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots and several types of lettuces. The red wine vinaigrette will complement the fish cakes nicely by adding some much-needed acidity to the overall composition of the dish.
4.Roasted Root Vegetables
Another healthy route to take would to be roasting off some great root vegetables with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. A medley of Brussel sprouts, parsnips and sweet potatoes will work nicely with the fish cakes.
You could even grill off some veggies instead if you wanted. Some great vegetables to use would be asparagus, zucchini and summer squash. After you grill the veggies, squeeze some lemon juice over them to add some acidity to the plate.
Even though the fish cakes may have some potatoes in the recipe, that doesn’t mean that you can’t also have a starchy side too. If you wanted to try and keep it healthy while maintaining some balance on the plate, go with a nice rice pilaf with the addition of some roasted vegetables.
You could even go with a wild rice with some light seasonings to keep everything on the plate nice and light. If the fish cakes do not have any potatoes in the recipe, then you should just go all out and make whichever kind of rice you prefer.
6.Herb Roasted Potatoes
As I mentioned above, if the fish cakes have potatoes in the mix, that doesn’t mean you can’t also have a potato side. The potatoes that will be in the fish cakes will only be there to act as a binder for the fish. So, it really will not be all that dominant on the plate if you are worried about a potato overkill.
Some potatoes diced up with some fresh herbs, chopped garlic, salt and pepper are a great addition to this entrée. It should round the whole meal out and give balance to the composition of the plate. I would suggest zesting some lemon zest over the potatoes when they come out of the oven to bring some brightness to the plate.
If you want to have some kind of side that will fill you up and add a little more of a home cooked feel to the meal, then try creamed spinach. It is really easy to make and costs barely anything to acquire the necessary ingredients. It will also add another texture to the plate and have some sort of a warm mouthfeel to entrée.
The creamed spinach will work nicely with the fish cakes as well without overpowering the whole meal. As long as the seasonings are on point, it should not be a problem. I would add some roasted garlic and sauteed onions to the creamed spinach as well to elevate the side a little bit in flavor.
8.Bacon And Green Bean Sauté
This is another great side dish to accompany your fish cakes. In fact, this can also be used as another element on the plate if you were to serve the fish cakes as an appetizer. The bacon, shallot and garlic in the green bean sauté will really help to bring big and bold flavors to the light and flaky fish cakes.
You should also use fresh green beans and not the ones you find in a can. Those will just turn to mush while the fresh green beans will still have a relatively slight crunch and freshness to them.
9.Corn And Tomato Relish
This is a great accompaniment to add with fish cakes. I have worked in several fine dining restaurants and this is one of the most popular side dishes or other element to put on the plate along with fish cakes or crab cakes. You want to make sure to use fresh corn that you shuck off the cob as well.
You can roast the corn in the husk for about an hour then just shuck it straight off with a serrated knife. Add some diced tomatoes, chopped parsley, diced onion, olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper and mix well. The relish really goes well with any type of fish or seafood cake. It also works well if you place a remoulade sauce on the plate as well.
10.Warm Cous Cous With Craisins And Spinach
This is another starchy side to try out with your fish cakes that is a little out of the ordinary. You want to make sure to use the semolina style cous cous and not the larger pearl cous cous. Once you cook the cous cous, add in some fresh spinach, dried cranberries, chopped parsley, salt and pepper and mix well.
The dried cranberries worked really well with everything and bring a nice tart sweetness to the plate that is somewhat needed with this dish. It looks great on the plate with the fish cakes and is also really easy and fast to make.
What Should I Serve With Fish Cakes As A Starter?
If you plan on serving the fish cakes as an appetizer, then I would go with something a little light on the plate. Try not to do too much on the plate as well. When you go to plate them, only add two or three cakes to the plate with a little bit of sauce and a small side to accompany it.
You will want to keep it simple because it is just an appetizer and more often than not, the side will be overlooked in this instance. If you want to go light, try a very lightly dressed salad. Something like some baby watercress, orange segments, sliced red onion, olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss everything together and place in a small pile on the plate.
If you are wanting something a little more substantial, then go with a small bed of grains like a rice pilaf, quinoa or even a warm lentil salad with some wilted spinach. This will help the fish cakes to present well and give the consumer a little taste of what is to come in the entrée round.
Top Wines To Serve With Fish Cakes
When choosing a wine to serve with the fish cakes you need to think about the type of fish you are using. Most of the time the fish cakes will be made with white and flaky fish. If that is the case, then you want to pair a wine that will go well with the fish.
White flaky fish like Haddock or Atlantic Cod go well with dry white wines that are crisp and refreshing.
You can’t go wrong with a nice Chablis or an Italian Chardonnay wine. These wines will complement the fish cakes nicely and bring some much-needed acidity to the dish.
If you plan on using a different type of fish like a smoked trout or a salmon, then go with a rich and darker wine such as pinot noir or cabernet. These wines work nicely with bolder flavors like smoke and salmon. Otherwise, the key with fish is serve the color of the wine with the color of the fish.
Best Desserts For Best Taste And Flavor
If you are looking for a nice dessert to pair with fish cakes then keep it simple. The best way to go about this is to think of a dessert that is light and fruity. Mainly, you want to end the meal on a good note while complementing the overall meal. Light and fruity dessert or desserts that contain some citrus will end the meal perfectly.
Try going with a nice and light angel food cake with some fresh strawberries and whipped cream to create a nice strawberry shortcake. Its light and fluffy and will pair nicely. Or you can go with a citrus dessert like some homemade sorbet or a lemon meringue pie. Other desserts that use key limes and exotic fruits will also work well too.
No matter what you end up pairing with your fish cakes whether it is the side dish, dessert or wine you just want to keep a few things in mind. Keep the meal light. Since the fish is going to be light, keep the sides and desserts in the same state of mind. Also, spring for ingredients that will work nicely with the fish like citrus and vegetables.
Kevin has spent 20 years as an Executive Chef, focused heavily on recipe construction and menu development. Today his focus is on writing, consulting to restaurants, and teaching culinary arts. In his spare time, Kevin loves to cook with his lovely wife and kids.