Total price: NY $10.33
Price per cake: $0.69
As we’ve said before, we’re not willing to give up fish entirely until the Great Recession is at last over, but we’re not about to go splurging on wild bluefin tuna these days either. Enter fish cakes. This version uses canned salmon, which is very inexpensive. These are topped with tzatziki, a riff on the traditional tartar sauce accompaniment.
Tzatziki has a similar smooth creamy mouth feel punctuated with crisp bursts of green, and also contrasts nicely with the texture of the fish cake, but is a lighter and more modern alternative.
For the Salmon Cakes:
- 2 cans salmon (about 6 oz. each) (NY $3.98)*
- 3 stalks celery, finely diced (about ¾ cup) (NY $1.69 for bag of 2 bunches)
- 1 small onion, finely diced (about 1 cup) (NY $0.59)
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise (staple)
- 1 tbsp dijon mustard (staple)
- 1 tbsp drained pickle relish (staple)
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (NY $0.50 for 1 lemon)
- ¼ teaspoon paprika (staple)
- ¾ teaspoon Worchestershire sauce (staple)
- 2 dashes hot sauce (staple)
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs (staple)
- 4 tablespoons canola oil (staple)
- 1 cup Greek yogurt (NY $1.99)
- 1 cucumber (NY $0.99)
- 1 tsp lemon zest (uses the same lemon from above)
- 1 tsp lemon juice (uses the same lemon from above)
- 1 clove garlic (NY $0.59 for one head)
- Pepper (staple)
For Salmon Cakes:
Crack open the salmon cans, and empty the salmon into a small colander to drain. (Warning: if you have a puppy, she will become most decidedly under foot at this point. The opened cans will be, ummm, fragrant. If you’re new to canned salmon, I promise the final result won’t smell like this! Of course your puppy thinks it smells just divine right now.) Flake the salmon in the colander, then transfer to a medium bowl. Combine chopped celery and onion with the salmon in the bowl. (If any small bits of salmon still cling to the colander at this point, put it on the floor for the puppy, who will now love you forever. Or at least until somebody else starts to look like he might take her outside to play.) Salt and pepper to taste, and fold together gently with a rubber spatula.
In a small bowl, combine mayo, mustard, relish, lemon juice, Worcestershire, paprika, and hot sauce, and then gently fold into salmon mixture.
In same small bowl, crack open one egg. Whisk vigorously, then fold into salmon mixture along with ½ cup panko. (Shoo the puppy away with your ankle, as she will be inquiring as to who, exactly, will be licking these discarded dishes and spoons you’re going through.)
Pour out about another ½ cup panko onto a plate.
Using a spoon, pick up about a palmful of salmon mixture, and roll it gently between your hands to form a ball shape. Try not to overhandle the fish. Put the ball down onto the plate, and gently flatten to form a patty shape, about 2 inches across. Gently flip over to coat the alternate side with panko. Transfer to a flat-bottomed dish. Repeat until you’ve used all the salmon mixture, creating approx. 15 patties. (The puppy will reeeeeeallly want to know why she can’t have the nice fishy dirty bowl, especially since her mean owners haven’t fed her in weeks and weeks and weeks and she’s wasting away to nooooooothing. Stay strong: its had onion in it. Ignore the beseeching puppy dog eyes.)
Transfer to fridge to chill for about an hour, and move on to making the tzatziki sauce.
Remove chilled cakes from fridge. Heap 2 tbsps canola oil in non-stick skillet. Carefully transfer cakes to skillet. Be sure not to crowd them in the pan: give them some elbow room, this isn’t a subway car! Let them cook about 2 minutes, then carefully flip with an offset rubber spatula and continue cooking about another minute longer. Transfer to paper-towel lined plate to drain, then serve immediately, garnished with the tzatziki.
Directions for Lemon-y Tzatziki Sauce:
Seed and dice the cucumber finely, and mince the garlic.
Combine all ingredients in bowl, and put in fridge to chill and allow flavors to blend until ready to serve.
Any leftovers are delicious with pita bread, carrot sticks, or even tortilla chips.
Loosely based on Parade, October 2002
* We got boneless, skinless canned (Wild Alaskan but still inexpensive! High fives for the shopping coup!) at Trader Joe’s. If yours has skin and bones, pick out the skins. You can then either remove the bones or mash them into the salmon for extra calcium. I recommend the later option (the bones are soft cartiledge, and in these cakes you shouldn’t even be to tell that they’re in there) but if they skeeve you out, go ahead and dig them out.
Approximate values per cake
|Calories 142.9||Vitamin A 2.0 %||Iron 4.0 %|
|Total Fat 9.1 g||Vitamin B-12 16.9 %||Magnesium 4.0 %|
|Cholesterol 13.9 mg||Vitamin B-6 5.8 %||Manganese 6.4 %|
|Sodium 212.5 mg||Vitamin C 5.2 %||Niacin 10.3 %|
|Potassium 163.0 mg||Vitamin D 0.0 %||Phosphorus 10.1 %|
|Total Carbohydrate 8.3 g||Vitamin E 5.2 %||Riboflavin 5.1 %|
|Fiber 0.9 g||Calcium 8.3 %||Selenium 13.9 %|
|Sugars 0.9 g||Copper 3.1 %||Thiamin 6.4 %|
|Protein 6.9 g||Folate 5.0 %||Zinc 2.7 %|