Monday, September 19, 2011

Poor Man's Cakes

I think that the best part of writing a cookbook would be coming up with awesome dish names.

This dish is a mix of a lot of different recipes. It came about because I love crab cakes but can't really afford crab, nor is good fresh crab easy to find. So I developed tuna cakes or rather tuna cakes developed themselves.

I don't know if the same holds true for crab cakes, but I've found tuna cakes to be a great vehicle for leftover things. You just chop them your leftover vegetable in little pieces (or if it's corn, not so much) and stick it in your tuna cake. I realize not everyone loves tuna, but if you are a tuna fan, this is a great inexpensive dish. If I do say so myself.

Sorry about the not-so-awesome picture, but it was this or a half-eaten one.

Tuna Cakes
Makes about 8 patties (about 2.5 in. in diameter)

1 cup onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup red pepper, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tblsp parsley, minced
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/4 cup mayonnaise
3 pinches cayanne pepper
half a lemon or lime, juiced
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 cans tuna, drained
2 cups panko bread crumbs*
canola oil

1. Heat up a little of the canola oil, about 1 tblsp, over medium-high heat in a medium non-stick pan and add the onion and red-pepper. Cook until soft. Add the garlic and continue cooking for about 1 minute until garlic is fragrant a little soft. Set aside and let cool.
2. In a large bowl gently mix the parsley, dijon, mayonnaise, cayanne, lime and tuna. Add the onion/pepper mixture to their bowl. Then add 1/3 a cup of the panko crumbs. Mix gently again.
3. Place a good amount of canola oil in a non-stick pan and heat over medium heat. There should be enough oil so that the pan is easily coated and your patties don't get all blackened, but make sure they also aren't swimming in oil.
4. Place the remaining 1 2/3 cups of panko crumbs on a plate. With your hands, shape your patties so that they're between 2-3 inches in diameter and about 1/2 an inch thick. Lightly coat the patties with the panko crumbs and place in the hot oil.
5. Cook the patties for about 5 minutes or until a deep golden brown on each side. Mine got a little darker than that but they tasted perfectly fine. Repeat with all the patties and place on a plate with a paper towel to drain excess oil. And... you're set!

We usually eat these with whatever sauce is hanging around the house, more than likely salsa. Go ahead and try your own garnishes.

*Panko crumbs are Japanese style crumbs (they are used on tempura) that are starting to get easy to find. Their texture is so much more crunchy and satisfying than the regular kind. Go get them and use them on everything.

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