Freshwater fish cakes: Honoring every piece of your catch


Got any of last summer’s catch in the freezer? Here is a great fish cake or burger recipe: A very simple base that you can incorporate into meatballs, burgers, fish cakes, and serve it with endless ingredients (from a burger bun and french fries to fresh Chinese broccoli and kimchi).  It’s also a surefire way to utilize every piece of the fish you caught and honor its life. I go through a lot of Minnesotan Walleye at my day job, so  I started saving the belly meat or any small scrap and freezing it. After a few months, I would have 2lbs or so stocked up. It really adds up! Don’t be a jerk and waste it #fishlipstotail

Freshwater Fish Cakes

Yield: 2 servings


1lb Walleye, Pike, Sunfish, Trout, Perch, or any other freshwater fish you enjoy

1 egg, lightly beaten

3/4c breadcrumbs, finely ground

1 lemon, zested

1T dill, chopped

1T tarragon, chopped

1T parsley, chopped

2t onion powder

2t garlic powder

1t black Pepper

1t sea salt

1/4c grape seed oil for frying (local option)


Using a filet knife, clean the fish and discard any bones, scales, or white sinew in the flesh. Use your fingers to feel for any of this in the meat. Then cut into 1/2 in pieces.

Place all ingredients in a non-reactive mixing bowl and combine with your hands for 2min, or until everything is incorporated evenly. You can also use a kitchen aid mixer or food processor for this step.

Once forcemeat is completely mixed, make a little tester meatball and cook it. Taste it for salt. Does it need more? If so, add more a pinch at a time. Repeat this step until seasoning is where you want it.

Once you have the meat ready, you can make them into 1/3lb patties, or meatballs and grill, sauté, or roast them in the oven until the internal temperature reaches 140°F.

Serve as fish burgers with lettuce, tomato and onion or on top of your favorite veggies and rice. These also make a great lettuce wraps if made into little meatballs.

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Born and raised in the suburbs of Saint Paul, MN, Brandon has immersed himself into being a local and sustainable advocate for delicious living. Working for the best Chef’s in the Twin Cities before becoming the Residence Chef at the Minnesota Governor’s Residence and personal Chef for the Zimmern family. Foraging, eating, parenting, writing, cycling, consulting, catering and hosting pop up dinners are what his free time entails.