Scandinavian-Style Fish Cakes

If you live by the ocean, chances are there is a fish cake tradition floating about. New England, New Orleans, San Francisco, Seoul, Dan Nang or Cornwall… just about every culture has its own version of the fish cake. 

In the mostly water-bound reaches of Scandinavia, this is no exception. Fiskekaker is a true Scandinavian meal, an everyday dish symbolic of the seafood-heavy Nordic diet. But what if you live in the Midwest, as I do? While you won't find haddock or cod in this recipe, you will find potatoes and white-flesh freshwater fish. I chose Missouri River paddlefish for this recipe; it’s firm and fatty, resembling ocean fish. I have found it tastes quite close to tuna.

If paddlefish meat is not accessible, I suggest catfish, but any white-fleshed fish will work just fine. The beauty of this dish is that it's also fantastic with fish that you may not want to eat otherwise, such as carp, drum or bass. The seasonings in the recipe are merely suggestions; flavor your fish cakes with any herbs and spices you like.

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cooking Time: 10 minutes

Servings: 4


- 1 pound of paddlefish or other white fish, boneless and skinless

- ½ pound of boiled russet potato, skinless

- ¼ teaspoon of ground nutmeg

- ½ tablespoon of all-purpose flour

- ½ cup of cold whole milk

- 1 egg

- 4 cloves of garlic, minced

- 2 tablespoon of chives, chopped

- ½ teaspoon of paprika

- ¼ teaspoon of freshly cracked pepper

- 1 teaspoon of kosher salt or to taste

- ½ tablespoon of olive oil

- ½ tablespoon of butter

- Dandelion greens

- Your favorite vinaigrette dressing

- Lime/lemon wedges




1. Pat fish dry with paper towels and cut into large chunks. In a food processor with the S-blade, pulse fish with potato a few times. Then add nutmeg and flour, and then pulse until well combined and you get the texture of ground meat. Next, add milk and egg. Pulse until mixture turns into a paste. Add more milk if mixture is too dry.


2. Transfer mixture to a mixing bowl and combine with chives, garlic, paprika, salt and pepper. Keep fish mixture cold.


3. In a skillet, heat butter and olive oil over medium heat. When hot, scoop out fish paste with a large spoon and form into a plum-size patty with hands drenched in water to reduce sticking. Cook fish cakes for 5-7 minutes on each side or until golden brown and cooked through. Serve fish with lime/lemon wedges and dandelion greens tossed in your favorite vinaigrette dressing.