Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Southern Fried Life

I am still learning how to fry. While I've never been a huge frying advocate, I'm not necessarily against it either. I just don't yet understand the different smoke points of various oils, and I'm frightened as can be of using shortening. Chemistry was never my strong suit anyhow, and I'm starting to think it takes at least a science minor to be able to grasp the concepts involved.

Regardless, I don't give up easily. And I've been needing some variety in our menu. Though it may seem like there is plenty of diversity, what with a few new recipes every week, I have been wanting to branch out in some of the types of food that I make. As a vegetarian, it isn't always easy to have definable entrees and side dishes. For nearly a year, I have been limiting seafood in my diet as well. This is starting to put a crimp in my cooking style though, and I'm stepping back in to the fish fray. In June, I cut out a recipe from Cooking Light magazine for salmon cakes that looked intriguing, and I have finally given it a shot, frying aversion be danged.

I still had a little bit of trouble with the frying concept. The dressing was simple yet the perfect accompaniment, and the cakes were easy enough to assemble, once I got over my gagging reflex after opening the cans of salmon (note: this is not for the faint of heart - the stuff smells like cat food and the skin & bone is truly disgusting - I nearly turned back and gave up the recipe). The recipe called for canola oil, and I suppose that specification might have made all the difference, but I just didn't have any. I had peanut oil, olive oil and Smart Balance vegetable oil; by process of elimination, the Smart Balance seemed the best substitution. Whether it was the temperature I was using, the oil, the pan or my own inadequacies as a fry cook, I only got about half of the cakes to the right degree of fry-doneness. Will need to work on this a little.

Attempts at perfection aside, the salmon patties were still very tasty, and both The Carnivore and Fat Baby ate their fill of them.

  • 2 Tbs mayonnaise
  • 2 tsps fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp bottled minced garlic
  • 18 oz canned skinless, boneless pink salmon in water, drained (I skinned and deboned the salmon myself and would prefer to never do that again - I understand you can buy them already done)
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbs dry breadcrumbs (I made my own with whole-wheat bread: put slices of bread in oven at 200 degrees for about an hour, pulse in food processor until powdery)
  • 1 tsp Cajun seasoning blend (I used Emeril's Bayou Blast)
  • 2 tsps Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
  • 1 Tbs canola oil
  1. To prepare aioli, combine first three ingredients in a small bowl; set aside.
  2. To prepare cakes, combine salmon and next five ingredients (through mustard) in a medium bowl.
  3. Divide salmon mixture into 8 equal portions, shaping each into a 1/2-inch thick patty.
  4. Dredge patties in breadcrumbs.
  5. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  6. Place patties in pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until lightly browned and heated through.
  7. Serve aioli over salmon.

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