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Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Category Archives: Fish Cakes

Some of the US’s best blue crab is hand-picked here along the Gulf Coast, mostly gathered from the Bayou La Batre vicinity. With the volume of crab needed to supply our local seafood markets, multiple small crab pickers along the coast are used when gathering the freshest crab meat. Crabs are readily available along the Gulf coast as soon as the water is warm, so the season usually runs from March to November.

Sustainable Practices

Over fishing has made blue crab difficult to come by in many areas of the US.

According to the Marine Resources Division of the Alabama Department of Conservation, some rivers, estuaries and parts of upper Mobile Bay near the delta are closed to the use of crab traps. These spots serve as a nursery, giving small crabs a chance to grow before they move out into Mobile Bay and the Mississippi Sound, where they can be harvested. Other areas are closed to crabbing to protect the diamondback terrapin–turtles with concentric, diamond-shaped markings–which can get caught in the crab traps and drown.

Established in 2012, G.U.L.F. is the sustainable seafood program under the Audubon Nature Institute. G.U.L.F. works with the seafood supply chain, from harvesters to retailers, fishery management agencies, and consumers to ensure that fisheries in our region thrive for the benefit of future generations. Through education and outreach, restaurant engagement, fishery improvement projects, and third-party assessment and certification, G.U.L.F. pledges to promote sustainable practices, foster a community invested in Gulf fisheries, and create a more stable and confident fishing industry. The G.U.L.F. Responsible Fisheries Management (RFM) certification is a regionalized model measuring the responsible practices for the sustainable harvest of our vibrant Gulf of Mexico seafood. The Louisiana blue crab fishery was the first to go through the process and receive the G.U.L.F. RFM certification. Global Trust, an independent assessment body specializing in the certification of fisheries, carried out the evaluation and awarded the certification.

Fisheries certified under the umbrella of G.U.L.F. will gain credibility in a marketplace with ever-increasing demands for sustainability verification. In recent years, large retailers, such as Walmart, Whole Foods, Kroger, Winn-Dixie and Publix have developed strict sourcing policies that require sustainability assurances before purchasing seafood. This certification demonstrates that Louisiana blue crab is responsibly harvested for sustainable use, thereby safeguarding both the seafood itself and the industry that relies on it.
I think crab cakes should taste like crab and not bread. So, I only use breadcrumbs on the outside of the cakes to give them a coating and not in the filling. Of course, this makes them more fragile, so I bake them instead of frying them – which is so much more healthy for us.

Crab Cakes

Ingredients

1 pound fresh lump crab
1/2 cup finely diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup finely diced red onion
1/2 cup finely diced celery
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon Old Bay (seafood) seasoning
1 tablespoon hot sauce
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon salt
Panko crumbs

Remoulade Sauce

Ingredients

1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon chopped shallots
1 1/2 tablespoons capers, drained and chopped
2 teaspoons whole grain mustard
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

Directions

Remove any cartilage from the crabmeat. Do not break up the lumps.

In a mixing bowl, whisk the mayonnaise with the Old Bay seasoning, hot sauce, dry mustard and salt.

Add the diced bell pepper, celery and onion. Mix gently. Fold in the crab meat.

Chill the mixture, covered, for several hours in the refrigerator.

To make the remoulade sauce:

Stir together all the ingredients, cover and store the sauce in the refrigerator until serving time.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

To make the crab cakes:

Spread about 1 cup of panko breadcrumbs on a large sheet of waxed paper.

Divide the crab mixture into 8 portions. Roll each portion into a ball with your hands and place on the breadcrumbs.

Press down gently on each ball to form a cake and cover the entire surface with breadcrumbs. Add more breadcrumbs as needed.

Lightly oil the bottom of a rimmed cookie sheet. Place the breaded crab cakes on the baking sheet.

Put the cookie sheet into the oven and bake until the crab cakes are golden brown on each side, about 20 minutes.

Turn the crab cakes over half way through. Use a wide spatula and turn the cakes gently since they are fragile/

Serve with the Remoulade Sauce.

Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes, then turn the crab cakes over, and bake an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until nicely browned.

The following salads go well with crab cakes.

Tomato Cucumber Feta Salad

Ingredients

2 large plum (Roma) tomatoes, sliced into thin rounds
1 small cucumber, peeled and sliced into thin rounds
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 tablespoon fresh, chopped oregano
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions

Alternate the tomato and cucumber slices on a serving, Sprinkle the feta, shallots and oregano together.

Dress with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.

Southwestern Corn Salad

Make this salad a day ahead so the ingredients can marinate.

Ingredients

6 ears fresh corn on the cob
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup finely chopped green onions
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon honey or agave syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 poblano peppers, chopped

Directions

Remove the corn from the cobs and place into a large bowl. Add remaining ingredients and toss well.

Cover and chill overnight. Stir well before serving.

 

 

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hot weather construction

It is 90 degrees outside and you are thinking, “ I am not turning on the oven and heating up the house”. No need. There are plenty of light, delicious meals that you can serve cold or at room temperature for those hot summer days and nights. The Summer is filled with great seasonal foods like peaches, berries, melon, tomatoes, corn, bell peppers and cucumbers ­– all of which help keep us hydrated and cool during the heat. Turn these summer gems into light, easy meals.

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Italian Cantaloupe Salad

This makes a great lunch. Just add a few bread sticks.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1/2 medium cantaloupe, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 10 basil leaves, sliced thin
  • 12 Italian green olives
  • 6 small sweet pickled Italian cherry peppers, diced
  • 1/4 red onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup diced provolone cheese (or any cheese you like)
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients together. Toss with the oil and vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste. This salad is better chilled for a few hours before serving to allow the flavors to meld.

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Carrot, Cucumber and Sweet Onion Salad

Good side for grilled meats or fish.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups thinly shaved carrot
  • 1 small Vidalia onion, very thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups thinly shaved cucumber
  • 1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

Directions

Combine the vinegar, oil, salt and pepper in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add the carrot and onion; toss to coat. Let stand 5 minutes.

Add the cucumber and parsley to the bowl; toss to coat. Let sit for an hour to allow the salad to marinate.

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Spaghetti Salad

Ingredients

  • 6 oz spaghetti, cooked al dente and drained
  • 2 cups small heirloom or plum tomatoes of different colors, if possible, sliced thin
  • 1/4 red onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup pitted and sliced Italian oil cured black olives, halved
  •  2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (chili)
  • Basil leaves, sliced thin

Directions

In a serving bowl large enough to hold the pasta, add the the lemon juice, olive oil, onion, olives, red pepper flakes and a little salt and black pepper. Mix,

Add the sliced tomatoes and cooked spaghetti. Mix well and cover the dish until serving time. You can also serve this dish chilled.

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Tuna Patty with Peach and Corn Salad

Using leftover grilled tuna gives the fish cakes much more flavor than canned tuna.

For 2 servings

Ingredients

  • 6 oz leftover grilled tuna
  • 1/4 cup finely diced celery
  • 1/4 cup finely diced onion
  • 1/4 cup finely diced green bell pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup panko crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco (hot sauce)
  • 1-2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon butter
  • Ranch Dressing, recipe below
  • Peach and Corn Salad, recipe below

Directions

Combine the tuna, celery, onion, bell pepper, mustard, lemon juice and zest, parsley, chives, hot sauce, salt and pepper to taste in a medium mixing bowl and stir to combine.

Add enough mayonnaise to hold the mixture together. Place the mixture in the refrigerator for a few hours to chill.

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Divide the mixture evenly into 2 rounds and coat in the panko crumbs, pressing the crumbs into the parry.

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Heat the olive oil and butter in a medium skillet. Add the tuna patties and cook 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown.

Remove to a plate lined with a paper towel. Allow to cool for 2 to 3 minutes before serving.

Mixed Green Salad with Homemade Ranch Dressing

Combine a mixture of your favorite salad greens and spread them on two individual dinner plates.

Make the salad dressing according to the recipe link: Homemade Ranch Dressing.

Place a cooked tuna patty on each plate and drizzle the greens and tuna with ranch dressing.

Place the Peach and Corn Salad on the other side of the plate. The Peach and Corn Salad compliments the tuna very well.

Summer Peach and Corn Salad

Serve this on the side with the tuna patty or as a salad on its own.

Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • 2 ears fresh corn, kernels removed
  • 2 peaches, diced
  • 1 small shallot, finely diced
  • 3 tablespoons champagne vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Salad

  • 1/2 pound fresh salad greens
  • 1/2 cup shaved Pecorino Romano cheese

Directions

Whisk together the vinegar, honey and oil. Season to taste with salt & pepper. Toss the vinaigrette with the, shallots, parsley, corn and peaches.

Chill for a few hours to allow the flavors to blend.

Serve as a side with the tuna patties over greens and top with the shaved cheese. 

You can also serve the salad over greens and top with the shaved cheese as a separate salad with an entree.

 


Tuna has been fished from the warm, temperate parts of the Mediterranean Sea and the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans since ancient times. As a member of the mackerel family, tuna naturally has a stronger, more robust flavor than whitefish. In 1903, when sardines were the canned fish of choice, canner Albert P. Halfhill managed a shortage by packing tuna in cans and persuading local grocers to stock them. More than a century later, tuna is a household staple as a protein-packed, quick-yet-wholesome meal.

Tuna is one of the most popular types of fish used for canned seafood products. It is high in protein and vitamins, a good source of omega-3 fatty acids and has an appetizing taste and texture. The are many different types of tuna but there are only a few that are highly desired by the canned tuna industry. The most popular types of canned tuna are:

  • Skipjack Tuna is one of the smaller species of tuna and is commonly found at the surface of tropical oceans. It is fast, sleek and can grow up to three feet in length. The Skipjack tuna is a healthy tuna stock and is currently quite stable. It has a faster breeding cycle than other tuna and is a popular choice for many fisheries.
  • Albacore Tuna is one of the most plentiful species of tuna found in the ocean and, as such, is one of the most common types of canned tuna found in stores. A full sized Albacore tuna can weigh close to one hundred pounds and be close to five feet in length. It has a darker blue color and is silver on the underneath side. At present many Albacore tuna stocks are fairly healthy and are not at current risk of being overfished.
  • Yellowfin Tuna, when canned, is typically called Chunk Light Tuna and is usually very easy to find in grocery stores and supermarkets. Yellowfin tuna is a large predator fish that can weigh close to 500 pounds when full sized and reach lengths of over 7 feet. It’s name comes from a stripe of yellow that runs along its side and its yellow fins.Yellowfin tuna is usually canned in salt water, oil or natural spring water. This type of tuna will have a stronger flavor than Albacore Tuna and may be similar in taste to swordfish. Unfortunately the Yellowfin Tuna is in decline because of excessive human consumption and unsustainable fishing practices.

These three species of tuna fish are the most commonly consumed and most commonly used for canning. They each have unique characteristics, flavor and ocean habitation patterns. Knowing more about what species of tuna you are eating and it’s relative strength as a species is a good start for choosing a sustainable tuna brand. Of course when buying canned tuna always ensure that the tuna species is listed prominently on the can and try to choose canned tuna that is caught by pole and line fishing. As connoisseurs of canned tuna we want to help promote sustainable canned tuna, to ensure the world can enjoy eating tuna for many years to come.

tuna packed in olive oil

tuna packed in water

Turns out tuna is not just for sandwiches! In fact, it’s perfect for appetizers, soups, main dishes, casseroles, pasta dishes and all kinds of salads.Tuna consistently makes the top-choices list for “best canned items” to keep on hand. You’ll find canned tuna packed in water, oil or brine; it can be salted or unsalted and you can choose the variety of tuna you want. Below are some of my favorite ways to use canned tuna.

Tuna Florentine Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 pouch (6.4 oz.) or can white tuna in water
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 can (15 oz.) white beans (cannellini)
  • 1/2 cup dry orzo (or other small pasta)
  • 6 cups low sodium Chicken Broth
  • 3 oz. fresh spinach (about 2 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons prepared pesto
  • Parmesan cheese for garnish

Directions

Heat olive oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, carrots and celery and cook until vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes.

Mix in white beans, orzo and chicken broth and cook for 7 -8 minutes or until pasta is tender.

Stir in pesto and tuna. Add spinach and stir until just wilted.

Serve with parmesan cheese.

Tuna Sliders

For 10 mini burgers

Tuna Patties

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small celery stalk, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon minced jalapeno pepper (or any hot pepper)
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • 3 cans tuna in olive oil
  • 1/3 cup of Panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
  • 1/4 cup of fresh parsley, finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
  • 3 minced scallions
  • 1 egg (beaten)
  • 2 tablespoons flour (+ extra flour for dusting the patties)
  • 10 slider rolls

Coleslaw

  • 1 cup finely shredded red cabbage
  • 1 cup finely shredded white cabbage
  • 1 cup finely shredded carrots
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, finely minced
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • Fresh ground pepper to taste

Directions

For the coleslaw:

In a large bowl, mix the cabbages with the sugar and the salt, cover and refrigerate for 1/2 hour. Then add the carrots and parsley. Mix the rest of the slaw ingredients together and add them to the cabbage. Adjust salt if necessary.

For the patties:

In a small pan add the olive oil, jalapeno, celery, garlic, cayenne pepper, celery seeds, salt and pepper. Cook for 4-5 minutes and set aside.

In a large bowl, shred the tuna; add the panko, parsley, mayonnaise, mustard, flour, egg and scallions. Mix well and add the cooked celery and garlic mixture.

Flour your hands and make small balls (size of a golf ball) and gently flatten them to the desired size (just a little bit bigger than the bun you will use, as they will shrink while cooking.

Lightly flour each patty and refrigerate them for 10-15 minutes on wax paper. This will make them firmer and easier to saute.

Saute the patties in a large skillet with 1-2 tablespoons of hot oil. Cook until golden brown.

Warm the buns without toasting them. Put a patty in each bun and top with the slaw to serve.

Mediterranean Tuna Salad

Ingredients

  • 3 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and diced
  • 1 (6-ounce) can tuna, packed in water, drained
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
  • 1/4 cup pitted kalamata or black olives, sliced
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • Coarsely ground black pepper
  • 4 cups mixed greens

Directions

Combine eggs, tuna, onion, olives and feta cheese. Combine olive oil and vinegar in a small bowl; whisk until well blended. Add to tuna mixture. Season with pepper. Serve over mixed greens.

Zucchini Fettuccine

Ingredients

  • 1 pound fettuccine
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 onion finely minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2/3 cups half & half or cream
  • 1 cup frozen peas, defrosted
  • 2 zucchini cut lengthwise, into thin ribbons
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
  • 2 cans or pouches tuna in olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of minced scallion
  • 3 teaspoon of lemon juice

Directions

Boil water with salt and cook the pasta “al dente”.

Place the zucchini ribbons in the pasta water during the last 2 minutes.

Drain the pasta and the ribbons and set aside.

In a large skillet, melt the butter; add the onion, salt and pepper. Cook until golden brown. Approximately 5 minutes.

Add the white wine, boil for 1 minute and add the broth. Boil again for a couple of minutes, add the peas and the half & half; cook for 1 minute and add the tuna at the just to warm it. Do not over mix or shred the tuna. Add the fettuccine and ribbons to the sauce, the lemon juice, parmesan cheese and scallions. Gently mix and serve with a little Parmesan cheese on top.

Tuna Stuffed Potatoes

Ingredients

  • 8 red skin medium-large size potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 cans or pouches tuna in olive oil
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh tomato (small cubes without seeds)
  • 1/4 cup julienned roasted peppers
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Heat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a large pot of cold water put the unpeeled potatoes. Add 1 tablespoon of salt and boil. After the water returns to boiling, cook for 20 minutes or until tender.

In a bowl mix the ricotta cheese, tomatoes, roasted pepper, salt and pepper to taste.

When the potatoes are done, drain and set aside to cool. Cut off the top of the potato and with the help of a spoon remove about a third of the potato and add it to the ricotta mixture. Repeat with remaining potatoes.

Then add the mozzarella and tuna to the ricotta mixture. Carefully combine; don’t flake the tuna.

Stuff the potatoes with the filling, top each with parmesan cheese and place in a baking dish.

Bake for 8-10 minutes and the parmesan is golden brown.

Tuna Stuffed Shells

Ingredients

24 jumbo shells, cooked “al dente”

Stuffing:

  • 1/2 cup fat free half and half
  • 1 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cans or pouches tuna in olive oil
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 8 baby zucchinis, sliced thin and each slice cut in half
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Sauce:

  • 4 cups canned diced Italian tomatoes 
  • 1 finely chopped onion
  • 1 finely chopped bell pepper
  • 4 minced garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

For the stuffing:

In a skillet sauté the mushrooms in the butter. Add salt and pepper to taste and cook for 10 minutes. Add the white wine, reduce to half and add the half & half. Cook for 5 more minutes and set aside to cool.

In a bowl: mix the ricotta and mozzarella cheese, add the tuna with the olive oil, the cooked mushroom mixture, parsley, zucchini, half the parmesan cheese and salt and pepper. Mix gently.

For the sauce:

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan; add the garlic, onion and bell pepper. Cook for 5-8 minutes on medium heat, then add the tomatoes. Cook for 20 more minutes until flavors are blended and the sauce has reduced about 20%. Add salt and pepper to taste followed by the parsley and oregano. Turn off the heat and set aside.

Stuff the shells with the tuna and ricotta stuffing. Place about 1″ of tomato sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish. Place the stuffed shells over the sauce, stuffing face up. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes at 350° F. Uncover, add the remaining Parmesan and cook for 5 more minutes.


 

The origin of fish cakes is said to have been in England in the 19th. century, when leftover fish was mixed with cold leftover potato, dipped in batter, fried and served as snack. Traditionally these cakes were made of cod, but today salmon, crab meat or any white fish are also used to prepare them. My grandmother made fish cakes in the traditional Italian style with baccala (dried, salted cod) that was leftover from holiday meals.

Fish cake recipes can have a lot of variations depending upon the type of fish, cooking method, and the use of  herbs and spices. Here are some common variations:

Gefilte Fish-fish patties consisting of white fish, matzoh or challah.

Fiskeboller- Fish buns made of forcemeat are very popular in Norway.

Bermuda Fish Cakes- A traditional dish of Bermuda especially made during Easter and eaten on rolls.

Satsumaage- Japanese fried fish cakes usually eaten as a snack. Kamaboko is yet another preparation of fish which makes use of white fish.

Thai Fish Cakes- These fish cakes are popular in the entire world and make use of Kaffir sauce in its preparation.

Yorkshire fish cakes- consist of fish along with two slices of potato dipped in batter and fried. These fish cakes are also known as scallop cakes.

For a salmon patty recipe go to an older post: https://jovinacooksitalian.com/2012/05/12/frugal-italian/

 

Most fish cake recipes call for frying in oil. I have been baking fish cakes for many years to keep them healthy. They taste just as good as fish cakes fried in oil but with much less fat than the original. I like to add mashed potatoes because it is a great binder to hold all the ingredients of the patties together and the flavor complements the leftover cooked fish. My children liked them better with this addition. If you don’t add butter and cream to the potatoes prior to adding them to the fish, the cakes are not high in calories. 

When I make crab cakes, I do not add mashed potatoes because the potato would not allow the taste of the crab to come through. However, leftover cooked white fish doesn’t have a whole lot of flavor to start and the added ingredients in this recipe make for a very delicious patty. This is also a frugal way to cook, as most Italians like to do. Purchase enough fish for two meals, cook it all and reserve half. The leftover fish is then available for a new meal and you do not have to cook more fish before making this recipe.  You can also do the same thing with the mashed potatoes – cook once and use the leftover potatoes in this recipe. A serving of these baked fish cakes (2 patties) is about 300 calories.

Italian Fish Cakes

Makes 8-12 fish cakes, depending on size

Ingredients:

  • 2 large baking or Yukon gold potatoes about 1 pound, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup minced onion
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1/3 cup celery, chopped fine
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 pound cooked white fish (such as cod, halibut, flounder, etc.) or salmon, boned and flaked
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup Italian Panko ( Progresso) or bread crumbs

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Brush two baking sheets with olive oil.

Bring 3 cups of water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender but still firm, about 15 minutes. Drain and mash. Set aside 1 cup of mashed potatoes to add to the fish cakes. If there is any remainder, save it for another use.

In a large saucepan melt the butter and saute onion, garlic and celery in butter over medium high heat until tender. Turn heat to low and fold in flaked fish. Slowly mix in flour, cheese, Old Bay seasoning, dry mustard, salt, pepper, mashed potatoes and milk. Mix gently. Remove pan from heat. If you have time, chill the mixture in the refrigerator for an hour.

For perfect even cakes, try using an ice-cream scoop to form balls and shape with your hands.

With floured hands shape batter into cakes 1/2 inch by 3 inches. Coat in Panko crumbs and place on the prepared baking sheets. Spray the top of the cakes with olive oil cooking spray.

Bake the fish cakes for 10 minutes, flip the cakes and bake another 15 minutes until golden brown.

Serve with one of the sauces below.

Sauces To Serve With Fish Cakes

Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

In blender, puree 1/2 cup roasted red bell peppers (jarred is fine) with 1 clove garlic, 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Add 1/4 cup olive oil and blend.

Caper-Parsley Sauce

  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons drained capers
  • 6 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 6 anchovy fillets, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 large garlic cloves, halved

Blend all ingredients in processor until coarse puree forms. Season sauce with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl.

Lemon-Caper Yogurt Sauce

  • 1/2 cup full-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons capers, rinsed, drained and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a small bowl, mix together the yogurt, capers, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Spicy Tomato Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large fresh red chile, minced
  • 4 large plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano or basil
  • Salt

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic and chile and cook over moderately low heat until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook over moderate heat until thickened, about 10 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and water and simmer for 2 minutes longer. Add herbs and season with salt. Serve warm.

 


How to Use Leftovers to Create New Meals.

No, not that again, was the usual chant from my threesome, when told dinner was leftover from a previous night. Except for maybe spaghetti and meatballs or something with hot dogs, most leftovers were met with such disdain.  My husband is easy. He likes whatever is on the dinner table.  It doesn’t matter if it is a leftover.  If he doesn’t eat it for dinner, he will have it for lunch. The kids were the real food critics.

Planning for leftovers that can be turned into new dishes is the secret to not having to eat leftovers!  If you think about portion control for many entrees, you won’t have to deal with leftovers on a regular basis.  Most people make way too much food and you can save money if you plan meals wisely.

The Wall Street Journal recently wrote about the latest investigation into the high cost of leftovers, noting that the average four-person family spends $500-$2,000 on food that ultimately ends up in the garbage. Throwing away food and wasting money brings on those guilty feelings. Considering the high cost of food and the shaky state of the economy, though, wasting good food is foolish.

Leftovers tend to be pitched or ignored in the refrigerator because they do not look appetizing; not because there is anything wrong with them.  The Journal story says that vegetables are the most commonly thrown away food, accounting for 25% of what winds up in the trash. But vegetables are also, the easiest foods to recycle by adding them to soups, stir-fries or other dishes, such as pasta.

If you put a little thought into meal planning and some creativity into food preparation, eating leftovers isn’t just frugal, it can be really good.  For example, one of my favorite entrees are crab cakes and, one day, after having discovered I had made too much salmon for dinner, I wondered what I could do with it.  I have to say that I am not a fan of leftover cold salmon or adding it to pasta or soup.  

Why not make crab cakes with salmon! They turned out great. Now, I make salmon fillets, just so I can have it leftover for salmon cakes.

Here is what I do.

Salmon Recipe for the First Night:

Roasted Salmon With Fennel Orange Salsa

  • 4 Salmon fillets without skin  
  • (figure 5-6 oz per person for dinner and buy and prepare 8oz of salmon for an additional meal
  • salt, pepper to taste
  • olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons fresh herbs (chives, rosemary, or thyme.)

For the salsa:

  • 1 fennel bulb finely diced, plus 1 tablespoon minced fennel leaves
  • 1/2 cup finely diced navel oranges
  • 10 green olives pitted and minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. While it’s heating, make the salsa.
In a medium bowl, stir together the fennel bulb and leaves, the diced orange, the olives, the juices, and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Then, place salmon fillets, including the extra salmon, skin side down on a baking sheet sprayed with olive oil. Brush fish with a bit more olive oil, sprinkle salt and pepper, and press the herbs into the flesh.  When the oven is hot, roast the salmon for 18-20 minutes. Serve 4 of the salmon fillets with salsa.

Wrap the 8 oz. extra piece of salmon and refrigerate it until you are ready to make the salmon cakes.  You can even freeze it for several weeks, defrost the salmon overnight in the refrigerator and proceed with the salmon cake recipe.

Salmon Recipe for a Second Night:

Salmon Cakes

  • 1/2 cup small-diced red onion (or scallions) finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, finely diced
  • 1/4 of a small bell pepper (color of your choice), finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 pound (8 oz.) cooked salmon
  • ¼ cup egg substitute
  • 2 tablespoons low-fat olive oil mayonnaise
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 cup plain or lemon pepper panko, divided
  • 1 teaspoon crab boil seasoning (such as, Old Bay)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper 
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Remoulade Sauce (recipe follows) or make extra salsa
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges


Combine onion, bell pepper, celery and parsley in a shallow bowl.
Add salmon and flake apart with a fork.  

Leftover Cooked Salmon

Add mayonnaise, egg substitute, Worcestershire sauce and mustard; mix well. Add ½ cup panko bread crumbs, Old Bay seasoning and pepper; mix well.

Salmon Patty Mixture

Shape the mixture into 4 patties, about 3 inches wide. Dredge in remaining panko crumbs.
Chill in the refrigerator at least 1/2 hour before baking. Prepare Remoulade Sauce and chill.

Salmon Patties Breaded and Ready for the Oven

Preheat oven to 400°. Spray a baking sheet well with non-stick cooking spray.
Place patties on prepared cookie sheet and drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, then flip patties, carefully, and bake an additional 20 minutes.
Turn oven to broil for final 5 minutes and broil until the patties are golden.
Serve salmon cakes with sauce and lemon wedges.  4 servings

Remoulade Sauce

  • 1/4  cup low-fat olive oil mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup low-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1  tablespoon capers, drained and chopped
  • 2  teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1  teaspoon cider vinegar
  • 1  teaspoon sweet pickle relish
  • 1/4  teaspoon hot sauce

Whisk ingredients together and chill.  Keeps several days in the refrigerator. 

Some Additional Ideas:

Roast Vegetable Frittata

Spray a large ovenproof nonstick pan with olive oil. Saute’ vegetables until heated through. Add eggs to vegetable mixture. Cook on low heat until eggs are cooked most of the way through. Sprinkle with cheese and place under the broiler for about 2 minutes until eggs are cooked through and cheese is melted.  Number of Servings: 4

Pork Ragu

2-3 cups leftover, cooked pork loin, cubed
see post for recipe, https://jovinacooksitalian.com/2012/05/08/make-dinner-sunday-for-your-mom/
2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium carrots, cut into small dice
2 medium ribs celery, cut into small dice
1 medium yellow onion, cut into small dice
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
1-14.5 oz can low salt diced tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 cups lower-salt chicken broth
Freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Heat the oil in a straight-sided sauté pan over medium heat. Add the carrots, celery, onion, pepper flakes, and a generous pinch of salt and cook, stirring often, until tender and starting to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and garlic and cook, stirring, for another minute. Add the pork and chicken broth. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat to maintain a simmer. Cook until the broth has reduced by half, about 1 hour. Since you want the pork flavor to come through, it is important to reduce the sauce by half or it will taste more like a tomato sauce.  Stir in the parsley.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.
This pork stew can be served over pasta, rice or gnocchi. It is especially good served with fresh cheese tortellini.



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