Fish and Parsnip Balls with Tarragon


I had some left-over remoulade sauce in my fridge, along with some parsnips that needed to be used. And so I decided to buy some fish fillet and make these fish and parsnip balls. The reasoning behind it was that there is tarragon in the remoulade sauce (as well as the similar chervil) and that tarragon goes well with parsnip. And as remoulade sauce is great with fried fish, this had to be a winner. And so it was!


These fish balls have an original delicious taste of parsnip, tarragon, and fish. They are soft on the inside and crunchy on the outside. The remoulade sauce turns it into a real treat. You can serve these as a meal in themselves, or make them slightly smaller and serve a couple of them as an appetizer. To get a very crunchy crust, I used a combination of fine breadcrumbs and coarse breadcrumbs. (I always make my own breadcrumbs from leftover bread that I allow to dry and then grind in the food processor. I then sieve the breadcrumbs, first with a fine sieve to get fine breadcrumbs and then with a coarse sieve to obtain coarse breadcrumbs. The remaining pieces of bread are then ground again.) If you don’t make your own breadcrumbs, you could use panko instead.



Makes about 10 balls, serves 2-3 as a main course

300 grams (.66 lb) white fish fillet, such as cod, wolffish, halibut, grouper, or haddock

400 grams (.9 lb) parsnip

zest of 1 lemon

3-4 eggs

1 Tbsp minced fresh tarragon

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp freshly ground white pepper

fine dried breadcrumbs (or flour)

coarse dried breadcrumbs (or panko)

oil for deep frying

remoulade sauce and lemon slices, for serving



Peel 400 grams of parsnips and cut into chunks. Boil them in water until they are tender, about 15 minutes.


When the parsnips are tender, drain them and then mash them. Allow the parsnip puree to cool.


When the parsnip puree has cooled off, cut 300 grams of fish fillet into small pieces.


Beat an egg in a large bowl.


Add the grated zest of a lemon.


Add a tablespoon of minced tarragon.


Add a teaspoon of salt.


Add 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground white pepper.


Stir to mix.


Add the fish and the parsnip puree.


Stir to mix. Cover and allow the mixture to firm up in the refrigerator.


When the mixture has firmed up, set up an assembly line. First take a handful of the fish and parsnip mixture, and shape it into a ball. Then roll it in fine breadcrumbs (or flour). Next dip it into beaten egg (for this you will need 2 or 3 beaten eggs). Finally, roll it in coarse breadcrumbs (or panko). Allow the breaded fish balls to dry on kitchen paper while you finish making the other balls.


Deep fry the fish balls at 180C/350F. Use enough oil, at least 2 litres/quarts to fry 4 to 5 fish balls at the same time, as otherwise the temperature of the oil would drop by too much, resulting in greasy and soggy fish balls.


Deep fry the balls until they are golden brown and cooked through, about 4 minutes.


Allow them to drain on paper towels.


Serve with remoulade sauce and lemon slices.

Wine pairing

This is great with many dry white wines. Muscadet is a great choice, especially because many think it is sweet (which it is not at all, do not confuse this with muscat!) and therefore it is not very popular and so very good value.


Each region in Italy has its own pasta shapes and pasta recipes. For the southern part of the island of Sardinia the shape is called malloreddus or gnocchetti sardi, and the traditional dish using them is called Malloreddus alla Campidanese (with sausage and tomatoes).


16 thoughts on “Fish and Parsnip Balls with Tarragon

  1. Well, I may be totally against deep-frying BUT fish and parsnip and tarragon together: you have totally ‘won’ me over for a try 🙂 ! Thank you for your marvellous step-by-step instructions!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I had just had a lot of pollack delivered for my freezer, no lemons so I used limes and fried in dripping, as is my habit, rather than oil. Very nice, tender and moist. It strikes me that there are possibilities for interesting variations here. Thanks, again.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The version I tried with celeriac (knolselderij or sedano rapa? since I am trying to learn both Dutch and Italian to combat the effects of beer and age. You have an advantage over me there) was also very tasty.

    Liked by 1 person

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