You Win Some, You Lose Some

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Fish cakes are one of my favorite easy meals to make. Served with some homemade tartar sauce (which isn't hard to make at all), they are absolutely to die for. I have a fish cake recipe that I call my "go to" recipe, but last week when preparing the menu for this week, I came across a salmon cake recipe from Melissa d'Arabian. I have made some of her other recipes before and thought they were quite good, but I have to say, this one, I probably will not make it again. On paper it looked really good, and when she was making it on her show it, of course, looked divine, but then when I tried to replicate it, not so much. So as I was contemplating what to write about tonight, I thought about if I should write about the recipe or if I should provide my "go to " recipe. I decided I would do both. I also thought I would touch on mayonnaise and tartar sauce tonight, seeing as this topic pairs well with the topic of fish cakes.
Melissa d'Arabian's salmon cakes looked really good. They paired yummy salmon with bacon and onions. What I found was that they lacked flavor and they really didn't stay together all that well. In fact, they downright fell apart. I only managed to get one to stick together and barely at that. These salmon cakes were pan fried, that may have been part of the issue. I usually cook my fish cakes in the oven, they stay together better. The recipe reviews on Food Network gave this recipe 5 stars, however I don't think I would even give it one star. I do take part of the blame though, I might have done something wrong. There are times when I cook that I just don't get it right. Nevertheless, I am attaching a link to this salmon cake recipe, in case you want to try it. Please let me know if you do and how it turns out for you. I would be interested to hear some other opinions.
Melissa d'Arabian's salmon cakes
I served this meal with creamy orzo and green beans. Here is a picture of the finished product:

So, since I was not happy with the salmon cakes that I made tonight, let me share with you my "go to" fish recipe. This can be made with any firm fish, canned or fresh. I make these with canned tuna a lot because it is cheap. I also make it with salmon. If you use fresh fish, just poach it first on the stove, then flake it with a fork. These are REALLY good and very easy. I like them even better the next day.

Fish Cakes
3 (6 oz.) cans tuna, salmon or crab or 1.5 lbs cooked firm fish, flaked (tuna, salmon, crab, cod, halibut, for example)
1 (6 oz) package stuffing mix (I buy organic mix, or I use leftover stuffing after a holiday meal)
2 heaping tbsp. relish
1 cup grated cheese (I like to use cheddar with tuna,and parmesan or mozzarella with salmon)
1/3 cup mayonnaise
3/4 cup water
1 tsp. dill
1/4 cup shredded or pureed carrots
2 tbsp. chopped green onions or chives
2 tbsp. butter, melted

In a bowl, mix all of the ingredients until moist. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray. I use a 1/2 cup measuring cup to form the cakes. Place each formed fish cake on the cookie sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and let chill in the fridge for at least one hour. These can be made up to 24 hours ahead of time and kept in the fridge. Remove from fridge after one hour (or longer) and drizzle cakes with melted butter. Bake in the oven at 375 degrees for 20 minutes or until brown and crispy on the outside.
These are really good served with a simple green salad, or with the creamy orzo that I served tonight.

I love to serve my fish cakes with homemade tartar sauce. Tartar sauce is simply mayonnaise, lemon juice, and dill pickle relish. I usually mix equal parts of mayo and relish (typically 1 cup mayo to 1 cup relish), then add 2 tbsp. of fresh lemon juice, and I also tend to add a little dill, just because I LOVE the flavor of dill. Today I was out of mayo and didn't want to go to the store. I have made my own mayo many times but the problem is, homemade mayonnaise is not very kid friendly. Homemade mayo is typically made from oil, vinegar and raw egg yolks. This poses a problem when you have small children because raw eggs carry the risk of salmonella, even if they are super fresh. Fortunately, Julia Child has offered those of us who have kids, or who have an aversion to raw eggs, a solution. She has a wonderful cooked egg mayonnaise that tastes just as good as the real thing. I found this recipe in my Jacques and Julia cookbook, but I have also found it on the web - here is the link: Julia Child's cooked egg mayo.
It was very easy to make and very quick as well. Tonight, I used my homemade mayo in both the salmon cakes and to make the tartar sauce.
Please note that as in all of my recipes, things that I make from scratch can be easily substituted for store bought items.
Anyway, that is all for tonight. I enjoy hearing your feedback so please keep letting me know what you think! Until next time, happy cooking!


Anonymous said...

Lovely!! You might need an egg to bind. Just a thought.

frenchieliza said...

I did have an egg bind but it didn't bind.

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