I made a rather awesome dinner tonight — I made quinoa-lentil-salmon cakes! I don’t know why I’ve never thought to make fish cakes for dinner before, but I’m super-duper proud of the results and The Hubbs even said they were tasty! Considering I’ve been feeding him somewhat bizzarre meals, depending on what my body’s craving, I would say that this was a success definitely worth repeating in the future.
Admittedly, it was all made of leftover stuff in the fridge, but I’m still amazed and impressed. It’s a rather ridiculous mouthful of words, but the salmon cakes came out nice and fluffy, flavourful and even better with a squodge of tartar sauce and ketchup on the side.
Total tangeant, that is sort of back story to the recipe: On the weekend, during my stoned Chapters shopping excursion with The Hubbs, he got me The Best of Chef at Home. In it there were a couple of recipes that I had been keeping in the back of my head as something I’d really like to try — the first was for Potato Salmon patties and the second was for Mushroom Lentil Burgers. At least that’s what I think they were called, I don’t have the book right in front of me to reference.
The biggest issue with the burger recipe is that The Hubbs is allergic to ‘shrooms, so I will probably never get a chance to taste it — it just looks so incredibly tasty and mushroomy! The potato-salmon patties are a simple enough recipe that you could just knock it off in your head without actually needing a proper recipe. My problem is that I rarely ever have potatoes on hand in the house because I can’t seem to cook them before they go bad! So we’ve resorted to having instant potato flakes in the house *shameface* The other option has been to picking up a package of heat & serve mashed potatoes from the produce section of the grocery store, which is actually really tasty with no weird ingredients added at all.
So for the last while, I’ve been having this ‘thing’ for lentils and I’m trying to come up with dishes that The Hubbs would hopefully enjoy. I’m kind of wanting to get into having one “meatless” meal a week, but I’m coming up blank. I’ve found that I really like lentils when they’ve been cooked in the rice cooker along with the rice. I’ve been using this as my base method of cooking when making those Zatarain’s boxed rice side dishes and then I add all sorts of tasty additions like a cup of frozen veggies and maybe some leftover bits of meat to help round out a one pot meal… but the boxed mix always has SO-MUCH-SALT!
Last week, I tried using the same method to make 1 cup quinoa and 1 cup red lentils (and by ‘cup’, I’m referring to the measuring cup that came with the rice cooker, not a 250ml capacity measuring cup). The quinoa I’ve had sitting in the pantry for awhile, not quite knowing what to do with it until this idea struck — I rinsed everything in a colander until it ran clear and then I left it alone to drain for a good couple of hours before throwing it all into the rice cooker. To the cooker, I added a scoop of organic(!) vegetable soup base for flavour, a generous scoop of minced garlic, some dehydrated onion flakes and a bag of frozen leftover roast beef chunks. I think I also seasoned it with a little bacon salt and generous amounts of pepper, then set it and forget it. I enjoyed the meal, but The Hubbs found it too bland for his liking, so it stayed in the fridge until I could come up with a good way to recycle it into something tastier.
So in the fridge today, I found some leftover mashed potatoes from when I had made my second attempt at pot roast (which btw, was SO fail, so disappointed), and of course the generous quantity of bland tasting quinoa+red lentil mix. I always have some type of canned fish in the pantry, so making fish cakes is not a difficult meal in the making. Current pantry stash includes: salmon, tuna in olive oil, herring in tomato sauce, smoked oysters and sardines.
So here’s my recipe with guesstimated ingredient measures. Really, it was literally “throw it all together, give it a little shout, and that’s what it’s all about!” …Errr… I spent a couple hours this afternoon with Baby Skywalker, singing really silly songs, my appologies.
1 can salmon, drained, bones removed
2 cups leftover quinoa-lentil mix (leftover beef chunks, discarded)
1 cup leftover mashed potatoes
1 egg, beaten
dried dill, garlic powder, pepper, to taste
* With an egg masher, mash the quinoa & lentils to help loosen it up and discard the leftover beef chunks. Set quinoa aside.
* In a large bowl, break up the fish to remove the bones (my fave part: nom on them!) and mash it up until it it’s well flaked. Season the fish generously with dried dill, garlic powder and pepper, to taste.
* To the seasoned salmon, add the leftover potatoes, the lentil & quinoa mixture and the beaten egg. Mix everything together, using the masher if necessary, until it’s completely homogenized. It will be a pretty wet mixture!
* Preheat the oven to 350F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Lliberally spray parchment with cooking spray and divide the fish mixture into 6 decent sized patties. I suppose if you wanted, you could roll the patties in panko for extra crunchy goodness. Place the fish cakes, well spaced apart, on the lined pan and liberally spray the tops with the cooking oil before tossing them into the oven for about 20 minutes.
* After 20(ish) minutes in the oven (until you can smell them!), turn the temperature up to 425F. When I checked on them after the twenty minutes, they didn’t seem quite hot enough, so I put the cakes back in, but only for as long as it took for the oven to heat up to the higher temperature. Once they had the few extra minutes at 425F, the bottoms had crisped up nicely and the tops felt more firm and definitely hot in the middle.
* Serve the fish cakes with tartar sauce and ketchup on the side.