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Thursday, 22 September 2011

Post the Twenty-seventh (in which our heroine wishes she liked seafood more)

I want to like fish.  I really, really do.  But, despite years of trying, and with a few exceptions, it just does nothing for me.  I know I *should* like it, and I know I can never be a proper foodie as long as I don't really eat it, but just, no.

Like I said, there are a few exceptions.  I'll eat mahi mahi if it's on a menu where nothing else floats my boat.  The meen balchao in Vermilion is to die for, as are the swordfish tacos in Dillinger's.  And I absolutely love the smell of fish cooking on a barbeque or griddle; to me, it's just amazingly evocative of childhood holidays in Portugal.

And then, of course, there's tuna.  Everyone likes tuna, right?  The "chicken of the sea", to quote a well-known brand in the US.  I wonder how much their marketing people got paid to come up with that?  Now, if you were to compile a league table of the most nutritionally advantageous types of fish to eat, I doubt tinned tuna would even feature, but hey, it's tasty, it's low in fat and you nearly always have a few tins of it knocking around the house, which makes this recipe a good emergency standby.

Tuna Cakes with Onion Salsa- makes 8 cakes

For the cakes
2 tins tuna in brine, drained                        250g mashed potato*
1 small onion, very finely diced                  2 fat cloves garlic, crushed
1 red chili, finely diced                               Large bunch coriander, chopped
Dash of soy sauce                                     Pinch of ground coriander
Zest & juice of 1 lemon                             1 egg
Salt & pepper

1. Chuck all the ingredients into a large bowl and mix really well until everything is evenly combined.  Check your seasoning carefully - you don't want to go mad with the salt, as the tuna is quite salty already.  When you're happy with the seasoning, shape the mix into 8 cakes, then chill for half an hour to firm up.  Make your salsa while you wait.

For the salsa
500g cherry tomatoes, quartered                1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 small chili, finely diced                             Small bunch fresh coriander, chopped
Juice of 1 lime                                            Salt, pepper & a pinch of sugar

2. Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl, mix well and allow to sit at room temperature until you serve.

3. Remove the tuna cakes from the fridge.  In a wide, shallow pan, heat a couple of tablespoons of oil over a medium heat.  Fry the cakes three or four at a time.  Don't touch them for the first couple of minutes of cooking - you want to give the bottoms time to firm up.  Give them a little nudge with a spatula and if they move easily, turn them over and cook the other side.  Remove, drain on kitchen towels & keep warm while you cook the rest.

4.  Serve the cakes on plenty of mixed leaves and top off with a generous dollop of salsa.  Emmet, being a cottage cheese fiend, also had a dollop of that on his.

You could also make these with tinned salmon.  I'm dying to try them with crab, after sampling the FAB crabcakes from McAllister's Fishmonger in Lucan.

Or, you could make them with pretty much any white fish fillet - just blitz the raw fish in a food processor with the potatoes, then make as directed above.  You will, however, need to cook the cakes for a little bit longer, on a slightly lower heat.

*If you're making these a day or two after the potato skins from the last post, obviously just use your reserved potatoes from that, and don't worry too much about the weight - no two sets of fishcakes are ever alike anyway.

Until tomorrow, mes amies, I must bid you adieu.

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