It’s the start of summer which means Pembrokeshire Fish Week is back! Celebrating our fishing industry, it’s a chance to meet some of the people involved and sample the abundance of fish and shellfish landed on our shores. The opening day usually takes place in Milford Haven, although this year it’s relocating. Head to Lawrenny on Saturday 24th June for the big opening event and then on Sunday 25th June Scolton Manor are hosting a nautically themed family fun day, with lots more going on throughout the week.
A highlight for me last year was watching fishermen from Narberth-based Albatross Fisheries expertly descale and fillet their catch. A collective of local fisherman, they specialise in seabass caught using rod and line. This fishing method reduces the impact on seabass stocks and is recognised by the Marine Conservation Society as being a more sustainable method of fishing as it also reduces bycatch of other species.
For our annual Fish Supper at Transition Cafe last year we cooked catch from Fishguard fishermen, using fish they had in abundance, or more unusual bycatch which they found difficult to sell (a shame as they were tasty to eat). We were slightly overwhelmed by the quantity of spider crabs we received – they are a prized delicacy for some but time consuming to prepare with their long spidery legs! We were told that stocks of spider crabs are increasing on our coastline, potentially reducing stocks of other species of crab. Look out for them if you’re a fan of crab meat, their shells are beautiful too.
Pembrokeshire fish cakes
Pairing delicious Pembrokeshire potatoes with locally caught fish. This recipe is a guide and was inspired by a fridge raid, making the most of leftovers (my common theme!) For veggie or meat versions remove fish &/ add cooked meat to the mix. For speed you can also omit the stuffing &/ breadcrumbing, just shape and fry. I served them with a green salad and homemade tomato sauce. Fishcakes can be frozen (cooked/uncooked), when defrosted fry or reheat in the oven.
Lots – mashed potato
Some – cooked vegetables, chopped small
Some – cooked fish/shellfish, chopped small
1-2 tbsp tartare sauce/mayonnaise
To fill: Cheese &/ chorizo, chopped small
To coat: 3+ tbsp flour, 1-2 eggs, 5+ tbsp breadcrumbs
Oil for frying
Mix together mashed potato, fish, cooked veg, with a spoonful of tartare sauce/mayo. Add more tartare sauce/mayo if mix seems dry, you want it to hold together (add breadcrumbs if it’s too wet).
Flour your hands and spoon a dollop of potato mix onto one hand. Place a bit of cheese &/ chorizo in the centre then cover with a bit more potato mix. Shape into a patty and put on one side. Continue with the rest of the potato mix. Put into the fridge for 30mins if you’ve time so they firm up (not essential).
Get three plates/similar. Onto the first heap a pile of flour. Second plate crack an egg onto and whisk it up with a fork. On the third plate pour breadcrumbs. (Afterwards, any leftover egg can be scrambled and breadcrumbs can be fried and sprinkled over salads/ soup).
Now ‘pane’ your fish cakes. One at a time, coat a fish cake in flour first, then egg, then breadcrumbs, put on one side. Heat a frying pan with a thin slick of oil until hot, reduce heat to medium and fry your fishcakes in batches. As they’re cooked transfer to the oven, 160°C, whilst you fry the rest. They will all benefit from 5mins in the oven to make sure they’re heated through (esp if you’ve made thick fish cakes).
This article first appeared in Narberth Breeze magazine. Apologies for posting it a bit late on here for anyone interested in attending the events (book next year in your diary! It’s usually last weekend in June-early July).