Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Food Desert Project - Salmon Cakes Benedict


Canned fish is a great resource in the food desert - particularly canned salmon, which offers omega-3 fatty acids, along with a nice dose of calcium if you get it with bones and skin on.  Though we've all become accustomed to eating our fish right next to raw, gentle treatment of canned fish can make for some tasty meals.  This dish relies pretty heavily on eggs and egg yolks, and thus is not low-fat, or low-cholesterol, but you get a real bang for your nutritional buck out of the other ingredients.  Keep in mind that you should keep your intake of fish like salmon to twice per week - and that the addition of the poached egg and sabayon adds an indulgent amount of fat and calories, and so should be reserved for special occasions - but the cakes themselves are very healthy, and delicious enough to add to your regular weekly rotation.

Nutritional information
Nutritional information on salmon cakes alone
Salmon Cakes Benedict

1 can Red Salmon with bones
1 box dehydrated potatoes, "flavor packet" discarded
3 tbsp white wine
3 tbsp dried minced onions
1 tbsp dried parsley
2 tsp dried chives
2 tbsp capers
1/2 cup minced roasted red pepper
1 tsp salt
6 eggs, separated (you will use only 1 egg yolk)
Fresh breadcrumbs*, dried breadcrumbs or panko
1/4 cup sherry
additional parsley, chives, salt and pepper

Poached Eggs

Rehydrate onions and spices overnight in 3 tbsp white wine. Alternatively, place onion and wine mixture in microwave-safe container and nuke 30 seconds. Let stand while you prepare the potatoes. Following package directions on potatoes using only water, cook potatoes (mine said simmer in 4 1/2 cups of salted water for 20 min) Drain potatoes and mash lightly, leaving chunks. Allow to cool. Lightly beat together 5 egg whites and 1 whole egg. Fold into potatoes with onion mixture, salt, capers, and red pepper.

Lightly poach 8 eggs** and place in an ice bath in the refrigerator. Leave poaching water on the stove to reheat just before serving.

Heat about 1" of oil in a cast iron skillet until a small piece of potato mixture sizzles when added.

In a large bowl, break the salmon into large flakes - if the bones bother you, remove them, seperately mashing them thoroughly, and add them to the potatoes; you don't want to miss that nutrition. Gently fold in potato mixture.

Form into 8-10 patties. Working with 3-4 cakes at a time, dredge each cake thoroughly in breadcrumbs and fry in skillet, turning when browned on the bottom (about 2-3 min)

Place finished cakes in warm oven on a wire rack placed on a cookie sheet. Continue until all cakes are fried.

In a double boiler, place the remaining egg yolks and the sherry. Add parsley, chives, salt and pepper to taste. Whisk thoroughly until the mixture is frothy and lemony. Continue to heat and whisk until mixture begins to thicken; remove top of double boiler from stove and continue to whisk until your sauce is thickened and doubled in volume.

Reheat your poached eggs in the original poaching liquid. Plate a salmon cake with a poached egg, and top with the Sherry Sabayon. Enjoy.

* I often make breadcrumbs out of the inevitable leftover hot dog buns at the end of the package; just let them dry a little bit and zizz them in the blender.

** I poach eggs in my nonstick skillet, filled most of the way up with water to which I've added salt and a little vinegar. Carefully shell each egg into a saucer and slip it into barely simmering water; wait a few seconds before repeating. When the bottom is set, turn the eggs over using two spoons. Poach until you can poke the top of the egg with your finger and feel very gentle resistance (You should still be able to feel liquid inside, but the white should be thoroughly cooked) Scoop out with a slotted spoon into icewater, reheat when ready to serve in the same manner.

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