Foodie Tuesday: Tuna Cakes, the Next Generation

My first shot at oven-baked tuna cakes, based on Michelle Tam’s from Nom Nom Paleo, was good, but not just to Mr. S’s and my taste quite yet. So I took another run at the dish. Here’s what I did:Photo: Tuna Cakes, V.2

Tuna Cakes, Take 2 (They’re Small!)

2 tins of great tuna, 1 tin of great tiny shrimp, and 3 fresh, raw eggs, all gently chopped together. I used my blade-style (not wire) pastry blender, a tool whose blades are strong enough to chop through the fish and shrimp and spaced far enough apart not to simply mash them, so they retained texture to my liking. I seasoned the mix with lemon juice, dill, smoked paprika, yellow mustard, and a bit of cayenne—very much like our favorite tuna salad for sandwiches and dip, but without the mayo, since the eggs and shrimp hold things together and the egg-lemon combo gives a vaguely “mayonnaisean” flavor. I divided the tuna ‘salad’ into a greased 24-muffin tin, only loosely poking the seafood into the cups to keep them rather airy.

For the top layer of the cakes, I baked one large russet potato, let it cool enough to handle it without getting myself all starch-sticky, and coarsely grated the insides. The peel, separately, got minced finely and nuked until beginning to crisp in about 2 Tablespoons of melted ghee and a little sprinkle of Maldon sea salt crystals, and then gently blended with the grated potato ‘meat’ before being popped on top of the fish mixture in a similar fashion. For a little decorative gesture and last dose of flavor, I sprinkled the cakes with a light dusting of additional paprika and salt and then a few bits of jarred pimientos.

Baked for about 20-25 minutes at 350°F/177ºC, they’re quite lovely served with some salsa and a further sprinkle of flaked salt. Add few sautéed red capsicum slices, toasted sliced almonds on top, and side dishes of diced fresh peaches and pears and some fresh green vegetables (snap peas and celery, on this day) to dunk into dill dip, and the meal is complete. The dill dip was made, this time, from a base blend of avocado oil mayonnaise and coconut milk seasoned with salt and pepper and, of course, plenty of dill.Photo: Tuna Cakes for Dinner This post is brought to you on Foodie *Wednesday* courtesy of No-Access Tuesday. I’ll post my regular Wednesday episode today, too, since I’m back in internet-available territory. So I’ll see you later. Barring any further interruptions of our regular programming!

I Know It’s Not Tuesday, but…

…I’m still hungry. Must be about time to fix dinner! Meanwhile, this week I did serve a second round of those tuna cakes that had I made a couple of weeks ago and posted about this Tuesday, so I thought I’d update you on that.Photo: Tuna Cakes with Peanut Sauce

Having found our first servings a tiny bit bland and dry as I’d fixed them, I thought perhaps they ought to get a little saucier with us, so I served them with a Thai-inspired peanut sauce, and I do think that was a good upgrade for this batch. Peanut sauce is a staple of numerous delicious dishes, not least of all my favorites among them, satays and salad rolls (sometimes called fresh rolls or spring rolls, on restaurant menus). My little version of the sauce for the occasion was a quick-fix variant that used the goods I already had in my pantry and fridge, and they’re common enough ingredients that I suspect you can easily whip some of this up, too.Photo: Tuna Cakes Redux

This Week’s Peanut Sauce

Powdered peanuts! How did I manage without that little container o’ goodness before? It’s mighty handy stuff. Never mind that it’s made by squishing most of the oil out of peanuts, so you can flavor and thicken dishes with peanutty protein with a lower calorie count and a friendlier fat profile, it’s just plain tasty. So, to make my peanut sauce, I put some peanut dust (doesn’t that just sound so much more interesting?) in a dish, about 2/3 to 3/4 of a cup’s worth, I suppose, and added Tamari, lime juice, raw honey, toasted sesame oil, and cayenne pepper until I liked the blend. I should have thinned it a little with my fridge-handy stash of homemade broth, some apple juice, or some water, but as thick as it was it still moistened the tuna cakes and heightened their flavors pleasingly, and will likely be used on a repeat occasion or ten when I’ve got other fish [cakes] to fry.

The juicy factor was not hurt, either, by my decision to serve coleslaw packed with pieces of bright, sweet clementines and topped with sesame seeds along with the main dish. Light, quick, easy, and not at all heavy, this is a meal that would be welcome any time of year, I think.Photo: Clementine-Sesame Slaw