Given that this month’s Cheese, Please! Challenge is the very British Cheddar, it seems only right that I should conduct extensive research by stuffing my face with as many quality farmhouse Cheddars as I can lay my hands on. The first up for tasting is Montgomery’s Cheddar:
Neal’s Yard Dairy declare Montgomery’s to be ‘one of the three truly traditional cheddars still to be made in the country today.’ Produced on Manor Farm in Somerset, the cheese is made from the unpasteurised milk of the Montgomery’s own herd of 200 Friesian cows. James Montgomery is meticulous about his cheddar-making, from carefully researching his herd’s feed to get the right balance of fat and protein in the milk to using only ‘pint starter cultures’, made from naturally-occurring bacteria in Somerset milk. The cheeses are matured for a year or more, wrapped in muslin cloth on wooden shelves. It’s a truly magnificent Cheddar, all nutty and fruity and (if you eat the rind, like I do) radiating out to an earthy, farmhousy edge, which sometimes sneaks through into the paste.
I’m deeply suspicious of most fish-cheese combinations but I do like a bit of cheese in fishcakes – perhaps it’s something to do with the buttery mash? Who knows. Anyway, the lovely oozy bits of Montgomery’s Cheddar in these more than stood up to the taste of the salmon. You could, I suppose, substitute another Cheddar but I would strongly advise you to use a traditional farmhouse Cheddar with a depth and strength of taste to match the fish.
2 cooked salmon fillets or 1 tin of salmon, mashed up
1 large baking potato, cooked and mashed
1 red onion, finely chopped and fried until soft
100g Montgomery’s Cheddar cheese, grated
A dash of Worcestershire sauce, to taste
1 small handful of parsley, finely chopped
1 egg, beaten
90g coarse breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper
Makes 6 medium-sized fishcakes.
Pre-heat the oven to 200˚c/180˚C fan-assisted/Gas Mark 6.
In a large mixing bowl, mix together the salmon, mashed potato, cooked onion, cheese, Worcestershire sauce and parsley, seasoning well with salt and pepper.
When thoroughly combined, form into six fishcakes with your hands and place on a plate. Take each fishcake and dip it first into the beaten egg, to coat, and then into the breadcrumbs, to cover the fishcake. As you can see, I like my breadcrumbs fairly rustic (and I have a filthy baking tray):
Place on a lightly greased baking tray and cook for 20-25 minutes. Alternatively, you can shallow fry the fishcakes in a little oil for about 5-6 minutes each side, until the breadcrumbs are golden brown.
Serve with a salad or seasonal vegetables.
Because of the lovely Cheddar I’ve used, I’m adding this recipe to this month’s Cheese, Please! Challenge.