By A.J. Andrews

"Grinding" is a misnomer when it refers to preparing fish for fish cakes. As a comparison, salmon mousse, fish balls and gefilte fish consist of ground fish. Fish cakes, on the other hand, bind chunks of fish and require a deft hand during preparation. Fish cakes should have a coarse internal texture, without the mouthfeel of a product liquified in a food processor. As with most rustic foods, for best results, prepare fish cakes simply, manually and thoughtfully.

Organic Homemade Crab Cakes
credit: bhofack2/iStock/Getty Images
Handle fish cakes as little as possible for the best texture.

Step 1

Heat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Coat the fish fillets with just enough olive oil to glisten the surface.

Step 2

Lay the fillets in a shallow dish. Bake them until they reach 145 F, about 12 to 15 minutes. The flesh turns opaque and feels firm when ready.

Step 3

Transfer the fillets to a plate and let them rest until they cool enough to handle. Pull out the pin bones and peel away skin, if present. Place the fillets in a mixing bowl.

Step 4

Crumble the flesh of the fillets into 1/2- to 3/4-inch chunks using your fingers. Use a light touch; you want to separate, not mash. Discard any remaining bones or cartilage you encounter.

Step 5

Add the starch and binder to the mixing bowl along with the seasonings. Gently turn the fish, starch and binder together until just mixed.

Step 6

Form and shape the mixture into cakes. Chill the fish cakes in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before cooking.