Little Fish Cakes

Here’s another dish I tried for my nutrition class project of trying 5 new, whole foods…sardines!  Don’t run away!!  These were actually really good!  Sardines definitely have a bad reputation, but they’re a nutritional powerhouse and are a good sustainable fish.  Sardines are high in vitamin B12 (especially important for people who don’t eat meat), omega-3 fatty acids (these are the good fats that we need more of), protein, phosphorus, vitamin D, and calcium.  All that good stuff and they’re pretty low in calories too!  So why are we so afraid of some little fishes?

Ok, I have to admit there is something weird about the cans that they come in…not sure why they don’t come in a normal tuna-style can, and they’re really unappetizing looking when you open the can, but it’s not exactly like canned tuna’s a looker, right?  So once you get past those aversions you can focus on this  tasty recipe.  These were quite simple to prepare and I even served them to my aunt and uncle who stopped by unexpectedly for dinner and they liked them too.  The panko provides a nice crispy exterior, and the potato pairs nicely with the slight fishy taste.  Adding herbs helps keep these cakes tasting fresh.  I forgot to make some, but this would be great with a tartar sauce.  On their own they’re the perfect accompaniment to a salad or a bowl of soup.  I’ll definitely make these again and look forward to trying variations on these so I can up my fish intake.  After all, it’s recommended that adults get 2 servings of fatty fish per week.  What’s your favorite way of serving fish?

Little Fish CakesLittle Fish Cakes (A Seat at the Table)

Makes about 8 small patties

Adapted from The Professional Palate

  • 1 medium red potato
  • 2 cans (about 4oz each) skinless, boneless, sardines in water, drained
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 2 Tbsp dried dill (use 4 Tbsp fresh if you have it)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • panko (about 1/2 cup)
  • canola oil for frying

Boil the potato for about 10-15 minutes, or until fork tender.  Let cool and then chop finely.

In a bowl, combine sardines, shallots, dill, eggs, salt and pepper, mix well.  Add potato and mix well.  Form into about 8 patties, then dredge each patty in panko crumbs.

Pour oil into a pan, until the bottom is covered, and heat over medium heat.  Add cakes to the skillet (in batches if necessary) for about 2-3 minutes per side, or until heated through and golden on the outside.  Serve immediately.

Holy Trinity Salmon Cakes

These salmon cakes were fantastic.  The name comes from the addition of onion, celery and bell peppers, referred to as the “holy trinity” in Cajun/Creole cooking because it’s such a fundamental part of recipes.  I love adding extra veggies, it adds great flavor and texture.  While these totally taste like beach food (from the Old Bay), they’re still fresh tasting from the veggies, and with a little spritz of lemon juice, they’re absolute perfection.  Next time I might try baking them instead of frying (I’d try 375°F for about 30-40 minutes) just because it’s easier (and a little healthier).

Holy Trinity Salmon CakesHoly Trinity Salmon Cakes (A Seat at the Table)

Serves 8 (makes about 16 – 20 patties)

Adapted from Ina Garten

  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 7 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 bell peppers, diced
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp capers, drained
  • 1/4 cup minced parsley
  • 1/4 tsp hot sauce
  • 3/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 3/4 tsp Old Bay seasoning (or crab boil seasoning)
  • 1/2 cup (light) mayonnaise
  • 2 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 18 oz (3 6oz cans) boneless, skinless salmon
  • 1 1/4 cup unseasoned breadcrumbs (I used Panko)
  • olive oil and butter for frying (a couple Tbsp should suffice)

In a large skillet, heat about 2 tsp olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add diced onion and sauté for a minute.  Add the diced celery and bell peppers and sauté for a few minutes, until tender.   Add capers, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and Old Bay and mix well.  Remove from pan and let cool.

In a large bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, mustard, eggs, and salmon.  Gentle fold in the bread crumbs and the cooled vegetables, until well mixed.

Heat olive oil (and butter, if using) over medium high heat, when the pan is hot, add a scoop of the salmon mixture and press down on the top to form a patty.  Cook for about 2-3 minutes on each side, or until cooked through.  Keep patties warm in the oven at 250°F while you cook the rest.  Serve hot with a lemon wedge.

Salmon Cakes

I’m so glad these salmon cakes turned out well!  While I’m a fan of canned tuna, I have to confess that other canned fishes kind of creep me out.  But since I trust Prevention RD to have a good recipe, and have been wanting to try to eat more fish, I knew I wanted to give canned salmon a try.  I’d printed off the recipe to try these weeks ago, and then when I was finally ready to make them I learned a very important lesson.  Apparently you can buy canned salmon with skin and bones included!  Read your labels!  I was shocked and horrified when I opened my can to discover all the fishy parts inside!  I could go into more detail, but this blog is intended to make you want to eat, but suffice it to say I got super grossed out and decided to feed the salmon to the cat.

Round two, I read my labels and found salmon without skin and bones, and had a much more pleasant experience!  With the right can of fish, these came together quickly and were excellent.  These are tender, the lemon and parsley makes them taste fresh and bright.  I’ll definitely be making these again!

Salmon CakesSalmon Cake

Makes 5 

Adapted from Prevention RD

  • 2 (6oz) cans salmon (boneless and skinless), drained
  • 3/4 cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 Tbsp Italian breadcrumbs
  • 3 Tbsp tartar sauce
  • 2 Tbsp minced fresh parsley
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 3/4 tsp Old Bay seasoning
  • pepper, to taste
  • 4 Tbsp breadcrumbs to coat the outside
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well.  Form into 5 patties and stick in the freezer for about 5 minutes, until firm.

Preheat oven to 400°.

Once salmon cakes are firm, press each side into remaining breadcrumbs.  Heat oil in a large oven proof skillet.  Add salmon cakes and cook until golden brown, about 1-2 minutes each side.  Place skillet in the oven and bake until heated through, about 5-8 minutes.  Serve with tartar sauce.

  • 2 Tbsp tartar sauce
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp minced fresh parsley
  • 1/4 tsp Old Bay seasoning
  • pepper, to taste

Whisk all ingredients together.


Maple-Mustard Glazed Salmon

Last week was Mom and Sister’s birthdays.  And while I didn’t get to celebrate in person with Sister (yet) this year, Mom requested a salmon dinner on the night of big day.  As you may have guessed from my surprisingly few seafood recipes, seafood is something I haven’t quite mastered yet.  And this was an especially tall order because my mom happens to make the best salmon in town!  That’s quite the high standard to make both a birthday dinner and the birthday girl’s own specialty!  But I’m not one to back down from a challenge (culinary at least), so salmon it was!  Mom also requested that it be mustard-y…so after a bit of googling to get an idea of how to cook it, I whipped up this glaze, and I have to say the results were mighty fine!  The birthday Mom had a wonderful day, a delicious dinner and was a happy camper, what more could you ask for?Maple-Mustard Glazed Salmon meal

I served this with roasted garlic potatoes (fancy colorful ones!), and steamed broccoli.  This meal was a synch to put together and only takes about 40 minutes (or however long your potatoes cook), the fish is done in less then 10…now that’s what I call a good weeknight meal!

Maple-Mustard Glazed Salmon

Serves 3

  • 4 tsp Dijon mustard (I used a combination of whole grain and creamy)
  • 1 Tbsp Maple syrup
  • 4 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp dill
  • 3 (6oz) salmon filets
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a small bowl, whisk together the first 5 ingredients until well combined.

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray.  Remove salmon from the fridge, rinse and pat Maple-Mustard Glazed Salmondry, place the salmon skin-side down on the baking sheet.  Season with salt and pepper.  Turn on the broiler, and with the oven rack in the middle (not too close to the broiler), cook the salmon for 2-3 minutes.  Remove the pan and carefully pour the glaze over the filets.  Return the fish to the oven and cook for 4-6 more minutes or until the salmon is fork tender.

Ginger and Sesame Baked Tilapia

White fish can be kind of boring, but this just means it’s a great blank slate for more exciting flavors.  I used tilapia for this, but you can use whatever white fish looks good at the store.  Fish is a great low calorie protein source and provides micronutrients and omega-3s.  I’d recommend serving this with brown rice or quinoa and a side vegetable (although I served it with Roasted Eggplant, the flavors competed so I’d recommend something a little blander to really let the fish shine).

This is a really fast recipe, so it’s great for a weeknight, or on a busy day when you’ve been running errands (like grocery shopping so your fish is super fresh), it probably takes less than 30 minutes to have delicious flavorful fish.  You can also use frozen fish if that’s what you have on hand, just take it out the night before and let it thaw in the fridge before cooking.

Ginger and Sesame Baked TilapiaGinger and Sesame Tilapia

Serves 4-6

Adapted from The Kitchn

  • 3 large tilapia fillets
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 2 inches ginger, peeled and grated (I recommend keeping your ginger root frozen and then finely chopping it after you’ve peeled it.  It’s less stringy when frozen)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • chopped cilantro and/or scallions for garnish

Preheat oven to 475°F.  Rinse and pat the fish dry and season lightly with salt and pepper.  Ginger and Sesame Tilapia FishPlace fish in glass baking dish (I overlapped the thinner parts of the fish to get it all in the pan which worked well).  In a blender, food processor, or magic bullet, blend minced garlic, grated ginger, soy sauce, white wine, and sesame oil.  Pour sauce over the fish and rub it in a little.  Bake for 8-10 minutes until fork tender (fish should flake a bit when poked with a fork).

Pesto-Crusted Tilapia

Fish still kind of intimidates me, so in an attempt to conquer my fears I made this Pesto-Crusted Tilapia.  Unfortunately, I didn’t season the fish before dipping it in the pesto, so learn from my errors and make sure you salt and pepper (and maybe even add a little lemon juice) to the fish first.

Pesto-Crusted Tilapia

Serves 4

  • 2 large tilapia filets
  • 1/2 cup pesto
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup quick cooking oats
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Grease a 9″x13″ pan and set aside.

Rinse and pat dry the fish.  Season with salt and pepper.

In a wide,  shallow dish, whisk pesto and eggs together until smooth.

In a separate shallow dish, mix oats, salt and pepper together.

Dredge the fish in the pesto mixture, and then in the oat mixture.  Place fish in the prepared pan and bake for 15-20 minutes, until fish flakes when tested with a fork.

I served this with pesto pasta.  Mixed about 1/2 cup pesto with 3 cups whole wheat pasta.  Delicious!  The combo really played up the pesto flavor (and made up for the fact that I undersalted the fish).

Salmon with Salad and Carrot-Ginger Vinaigrette

This is the perfect dish to serve when a regular salad sounds boring, but you still crave something light, fresh and nutritious.  If you’re like me fish sometimes feels fussy and hard, but in reality fish cooks up really quickly and can be prepared very simply to let the flavor really shine on its own.

Pan-Fried Salmon

  • 1/2 Tbsp butter
  • drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 oz salmon filet per person
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Season the salmon well with salt and pepper.  When the skillet is really hot, place the salmon skin-side down in the skillet (you want it to sizzle as soon as it hits the pan).  Cook for 6 minutes on the first side, flip and cook for an additional 1 1/2 minutes.  Cooking time may very slightly due to the thickness of your filet.

Carrot-Ginger Vinaigrette

  • 1/2 cup grated carrot
  • 1/4 – 1/2 shallot, minced
  • 1 tangerine, juiced (or orange)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.  Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.

Top a salad with the salmon and dressing.  Enjoy!

Tuna Melt

Sister moved to NYC with her boyfriend, Chris, and near their apartment is this adorable restaurant that has THE BEST tuna melt.  It’s amazing.  Since I don’t get up to NYC often enough (and because Sister mocks me for wanting to only eat at one restaurant the whole time I’m there), I had to try to recreate their super tasty tuna melt.

Lemony Tuna Salad

Serves 4

  • 1 large can tuna (in water), drained
  • 1/3 cup carrots, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 Tbsp light mayonnaise
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tsp dried dill
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.  Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

Top your choice of bread with tuna salad and extra sharp cheddar cheese, toast until melted.  Devour!