Here it is, December, I don’t know about you but this year has flown by. Let’s hope for a much happier festive season with our friends and family at the end of the month. Not a festive dish exactly, and quite different from my recipe for Smoked Haddock Fishcakes with Lemon Butter Sauce. However if you’re looking for a lovely midweek meal that can be served in several ways, this is it. Fiskbullar or fishballs were my all-time favourite childhood comfort food. That said these do not resemble the ones I adored. Most commonly they are poached in stock and then liberally dowsed with a sauce. I have chosen to modernised and update this classic and shallow fry them and given you two sauce options to choose from: Chanterelle or Fennel.
Always begin with really fresh sustainable fish. There are some very informative resource websites that give you up to date information on what is best to buy. I like The Good Fish Guide. What I also love about this dish is that you don’t actually need much fish to make a delicious meal. In fact there are very few ingredients in these fishballs; sautéed onion, cooked potato, egg, breadcrumbs and herbs. Then it’s just to decide which sauce you’d like to serve, depending on what is available and in season. At the time of posting this on Instagram, my favourite fungus was available, chanterelles. The season has now passed but I jotted down the recipe for you.
The potato is used to bind (with the egg) and fill out the fishballs. Any starchy or all-rounder potato will work well here. I would however avoid the waxy varieties if you can.
Traditionally Fiskbullar consist of only white fish, but you could try making them using salmon, sea trout or even smoked haddock.
Swedish Fishballs – Fiskbullar
- 280 g skinned sustainable white fish
- 100 g cooked potato mashed
- 1 tbls fresh white breadcrumbs
- 1 egg
- 30 g butter
- 3 tbls sunflower oil
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 1 small bunch parsley finely chopped
- Zest 1/2 lemon
- 200 g chanterelles or any other tasty mushrooms
- 1 shallot finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 tbls butter
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 120 ml creme fraiche or whipping cream
- 60 ml chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 tsp cornflour
- 2 small fennel trimmed & finely sliced
- 1 tbls butter
- 1 tbls sunflower oil
- 80 ml vegetable stock
- 80 ml dry white wine
- 100 ml creme fraiche
- 1 tsp cornflour
- Preheat the oven 175°C fan.
- Begin by sauteing the onion in 15g of the butter until really soft and translucent, cool. Place the cold mashed potato, breadcrumbs and egg in a bowl and set to one side for 5 minutes. Now cut the fish into small pieces and pulse in a food processor, don’t over blend.
- Place the blended fish into the breadcrumb mix, add the cooled onions, lemon zest then season with salt and white pepper.
- With damp hands take a dessertspoonful of the mixture and shape into a ball. Repeat with the remainder. Now place the fishballs on a plate or tray, cover and pop in the fridge for an hour or until you need them.
- Place the fishballs in a hot frying pan with the remaining butter and sunflower oil. Turn so they are golden brown on all sides. Put the fishballs on a baking tray and place in the oven to continue to cook for 8-10 minutes. Now you make the sauce.
- To make the mushroom sauce: clean the mushrooms with a brush. Tear or cut in half. Sauté in the butter until all the liquid from the mushrooms has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper. Now add the chopped shallot and garlic, sauté on a low heat until soft. Now add the cream, soy sauce and stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for 2-3 minutes. If you’d like to thicken the sauce slightly, mix the cornflour with 2 tbls of cold water and stir into the mushroom sauce and simmer for a couple of minutes. Check the seasoning.
- To make the Fennel Sauce: place the sliced fennel in a hot frying pan with the butter and sunflower oil. Stir and fry until the fennel starts to take on some colour. Now add the white wine, reduce by half, then add the stock and cream. Simmer for a couple of minutes. If you’d like to thicken the sauce slightly, mix the cornflour with 2 tbls of cold water and stir into the sauce and simmer for a couple of minutes. Check the seasoning.
- Serve with a salad or steamed vegetables.