Category Archives: Fish

Salmon Feta Burgers

Normally, canned wild-caught red sockeye salmon is my go-to for salmon burgers — mainly because a can of salmon on the shelf means that we’re never more than 15 minutes away from an easy and tasty dinner. But two nights ago, we had about six ounces of salmon leftover from the previous evening, and I took a stab at turning it into salmon burgers.

salmon burger in pan

The fact that five ingredients resulted in the best salmon burger ever should have been a good thing. Unfortunately, it rocked my world view on the virtues of canned salmon.Salmon Feta Basil Burger

My new position on the salmon-burger subject: when grilling, baking or poaching salmon filets, think big and anticipate a leftover portion that could be repurposed into a burger or two the next day.

Discovery No. 2 for the evening: Oven Baked Sweet Potato Fries are not only the same color as salmon burgers, they are an awesome combination.

Ingredients

  • 6 oz. cooked salmon
  • 3 oz. crumbled feta
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 egg
  • 1 slice whole grain toast or bread crumbled in a food processor or sliced very fine.
  • 1-2 Tbsp. olive oil

Salmon Burger Spread (optional)

  • 1 Tbsp. pesto
  • 1 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice

Click here  for Sweet Potato Fries Recipe

Directions

  • Flake salmon with a fork and combine feta, basil, egg and bread crumbs. Stir vigorously until all ingredients are thoroughly combined.
  • Form into two patties and transfer to a heated skilled coated with olive oil. Cook on medium-low for 5 minutes, allowing the patties firm up a bit before flipping.
  • Flip very gently cook on the reverse side for 3-4 minutes.
  • Serve on a whole wheat bun or over a salad with the Pesto Mayo Lemon Sauce (recipe above) on the side.

Salmon Cakes over Spinach

I’m a big advocate of always being stocked with a can of red, wild-caught, Sockeye salmon. When in doubt, salmon cakes are always tasty on top of a salad — or rice. For most of the year, Pesto Salmon Cakes  have been my go-to salmon cake recipe. Last night, without any pesto on hand, I whipped up a more standard batch of salmon cakes and was reminded just how many fish there are in that big sea of salmon cake recipes.

Ingredients

  • 14 1/2 oz. can of red salmon
  • 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp. mayonnaise 
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley
  • 2 Tbsp. grated parmesian cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 slices whole wheat bread
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil

Directions

  • Add all ingredients, other than the salmon and olive oil, in a food processor and pulse until well combined. Pour mixture into a medium-sized mixing bowl along with the can of drained salmon.
  • Mix well with a fork until salmon chunks are broken up and thoroughly incorporated. Form salmon mixture into 6-8 patties.
  • Heat 2 Tbsp. of olive oil in a large skillet, and add salmon patties. Cook on medium for 4-5 minutes on each side.  Serve warm over a salad, or with rice, or on a bun as a salmon burger.

Pesto Fest: Summer’s Best Staple

Broccoli Pancakes with Pesto. Seriously, these were delicious. One of my favorite blogs, Beyond the Peel, came out with a recipe for 3 Ingredient Savory Pancakes, and I had to try them immediately, largely out of disbelief that

  • 2 cups chopped broccoli,
  • 4 eggs and
  • 2 Tbsp. of ground flax

zapped together in a food processor could turn into a game-changing pancake batter. They cooked up in a skillet with a little oil, just like a regular pancake.

Topped with warm pesto, we had the pleasure during dinner of  experiencing something truly new under the sun. Gluten free to boot. Great for dinner, I can’t wait to serve these for a brunch and convert a whole new crew of doubters to the concept of a broccoli pancake.

No where is pesto more perfect than on a broccoli pancake.

 It’s fairly recently that I’ve  started pushing the envelope of pesto possibilities, stirring in a tablespoon of pesto here, spreading it liberally there, and discovering more and more reasons to love pesto.

Pesto is simply amazing.  Packed with more flavor per square centimeter than any other item on the savory shelf, it also serves as a vehicle for some of the finest superfoods out there — garlic, olive oil, fresh herbs, walnuts, lemon juice. One could almost make an argument for popping a pesto capsule on days when it did not make it onto the plate.Basil, parmesan, garlic, olive oil, lemon

What we’re talking about here are dishes that incorporate pesto — not recipes for pesto. But first, a few words on pesto itself. Earlier this year, I experimented with a Basil Arugula Parsley Pesto, which became my standby.  Recently, I took a crack at a Basil Almond Pesto, and even though I’m thinking that might be my new  go-to, I’ll never tire of  new pesto possibilities. My only rule when making pesto: make a lot. A refrigerator that’s stocked with this wildly versatile standby tends to spark the creative juices.

Lots of Pesto. Lost of Possibilities.
Lots of Pesto. Lots of Possibilities.

Here are some more of the ways that pesto has managed to spice up our lives lately.

I bought a few ears at the Farmer’s Market. Shucked them. Immersed them in boiling water for a few minutes and was about to bring them to the table with a stick of butter and a shaker of salt — like I’ve done since I was 10 years old — and I stopped myself in my tracks thinking, “I wonder what a little pesto would be like instead.”  There are those who would advocate mixing half butter and half pesto, and that’s one way to go. We went for straight pesto and loved it.

A new twist on a 4th of July favorite.
A new twist on a summer favorite.

Pesto Pilaf. A side dish doesn’t get much easier (or better) than this: One cup of brown rice, 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer until the water is fully absorbed. Stir in 2 Tbsp. of pesto. Top with toasted, sliced almonds. Perfect.

A little pesto and a 30-second rice makeover
A little pesto and a 30-second rice makeover

Cheese and Pesto Sandwich. A cheese sandwich began as a very blah lunch-on-the run until I eyed some pesto in the fridge, spread some pesto on a slice of whole wheat bread, and added a slice of cheddar along with a few arugula leaves. The transformation to an entirely new sandwich stratosphere was immediate.

The next day, Sarah took the same concept and grilled it. Even better.

A cheese sandwich is something entirely different when pesto enters the picture.

Pesto/Lemon Dressing. Equal parts pesto and fresh squeezed lemon juice. That’s all it takes to unseat the standard Dijon vinaigrette.

A fresh and flavor-intense salad dressing with a twist
A fresh and flavor-intense salad dressing with a twist
A perfect summer salad
A perfect summer salad

 

Pesto Frittata. Fun with frittatas — brunch, lunch or dinner — is a big theme around our kitchen these days. A recent addition of a tablespoon of pesto into five beaten eggs, took a  potato, onion and tomato frittata up several notches.

The tastes of summer in a simple frittata
The tastes of summer in a simple frittata

Pesto Omlette. And next we have the obvious extension of the pesto frittata. Two large eggs, a tablespoon of pesto spread in the center, and about a half tablespoon on top.

2 eggs, a little pesto and a perfect start to the day

Baked Salmon with Pesto. Once again, pesto comes to the rescue. 30 seconds is all it takes to transform a plain plank of salmon into a perfectly moist and flavor-packed filet.  Spread about 2 Tbsp. of pesto across the skinless side of a 1 to 1 1/2 pound salmon filet. Wrap in foil and bake in a preheated 450 degree oven for 20 minutes.

Preparation time: less than a minute
Preparation time: less than a minute

Pesto Salmon Cakes. I’m a big proponent of always having a can of wild-caught sockeye salmon on the shelf  (as well as a container of pesto in the fridge),  because it means that Pesto Salmon Cakes will always be an option. One 14 1/2 oz. can of red salmon, 3 Tbsp. of  pesto, 2 eggs and 2 slices of whole wheat bread ground into crumbs, and that’s it.

Canned red salmon and pesto are the basis for the best-ever salmon cake.
Canned red salmon and pesto are the basis for the best-ever salmon cake.

Pesto Croutons. Bill could not be a bigger fan of homemade croutons and pesto couldn’t be a more perfect crouton mix. Combine 2 cups of cut up cubes of bread with 3 tablespoons of pesto mixed in with additional olive oil to ensure that the pesto spreads evenly. Toss gently until all of the bread cubes are coated and toast in a preheated 400 degree oven for 20 minute. Toss again after about 10 minutes and monitor closely to ensure croutons don’t burn.

So tasty that they may not make it onto a salad or into soup.
So tasty that they may not make it onto a salad or into soup.

Pesto Pasta. Serving as the poster child of this blog’s Auto Pilot page, pasta with pesto is where my love of pesto began — and the point from which is did not stray for many years.

Back to the pesto basics: Pasta, pesto and a little parmesan
Back to the pesto basics: Pasta, pesto and a little parmesan

Broccoli Pesto. And for a variation on the basic pasta with pesto, steam broccoli for a good seven minutes and mash it with a fork along with a few tablespoons of pesto. Mix with hot pasta and top with parmesan.

Pesto mashed in with a few tablespoons of well steamed broccoli and voila: broccoli pesto
Pesto mashed in with a few tablespoons of well steamed broccoli and voila: broccoli pesto

 

Greek Week Superfood Recap

A very shallow dive into the Mediterranean Diet over the past week or so revealed that it does not require knowledge of the fish that swim in the Mediterranean Sea or the produce that grows near the shores of Alexandria or Morocco. That’s a good thing, because I did a little Google search on the fish that swim in the Mediterranean and found neither tuna nor salmon. What I did find was a very long list that included the Monrovia Doctor Fish, the Mediterranean Sand Eel, the Highfin Lizardfish and the Blackmouth Splitin — all of which sound scary and none of which are available at a fish counter in Austin.

Last week was indeed a big week for learning. After writing about some of my favorite foods, I’ve learned, once and for all how to spell tzatziki and spanakopita. So I’ve got that going for me.

Best as I can figure, aside from the absolute requirement of olive oil (cold pressed extra virgin) the Mediterranean Diet is fairly open ended, and just calls for a diet that’s centered around

  • Nuts, legumes and seeds,
  • Whole grains,
  • Fruits and vegetables,
  • Fish, and of course,
  • OLIVE OIL!

It seems a given that we also need to add to the list: LOTS OF GARLIC.

Here’s a list of the recipes that I had fun with over the past week or so, along with a few other recent posts that appear worthy of inclusion in the Mediterranean Diet.

 Quinoa Burgers (or Patties) with Tzatziki

Delicious on a salad or as a burger: quinoa with tzatziki
Delicious on a salad or as a burger: quinoa with tzatziki

 Walnut, Feta and Grape Salad

When purple grapes stand in for kalamata olives, a Greek salad takes on a whole new vibe
When purple grapes stand in for kalamata olives, a Greek salad takes on a whole new vibe

A Salad Nicoise Variation

 

A salad where simple ingredients all sit distinct in their own little corner is a very appealing concept --especially among kids.
A salad where simple ingredients all sit distinct in their own little corner is a very appealing concept –especially among kids.

An Olive Oil, Parsley and Garlic Spread

 

Garlic, Parsley, Olive Oil and a little salt: More flavor per square cm. than almost any spread out there.
Garlic, parsley, olive oil and a little salt: More flavor per square cm. than almost any spread out there.

 A Lentil, Rice and Vegetable Salad

A lentil recipe that's fresh and colorful -- versus the all-too-often stodgy status of the lentil
A lentil recipe that’s fresh and colorful — versus the all-too-often stodgy status of the lentil

A Phyllo-Free Spanakopita with Kale

Lighter than a quiche and packed with not just any dark, leavy greens -- but Kale, the king of the greens..
Lighter than a quiche and packed with not just any dark, leavy greens — but Kale, the king of the greens..

 A Citrusy Variation on Rice Pilaf

A Zesty Rice Pilaf with Orange Zest, Raisins, Green Onions, and Almonds
A Zesty Rice Pilaf with Orange Zest, Raisins, Green Onions, and Almonds

A Spinach Salad with Strawberries and an Orange Vinaigrette

 

A festive and refreshing strawberry and spinach salad with red onions and feta.
A festive and refreshing strawberry and spinach salad with red onions and feta.

A  Tomato Soup with Fresh Herbs

 

A hearty blend of tomatoes, vegetables and herbs in a soup that takes the basic tomato up a notch.
A hearty blend of tomatoes, vegetables and herbs in a soup that takes the basic tomato up a notch.

A Pasta Salad of Tuna, Kalamata, Olives and Feta

 

A salad to jump start your Mediteranean diet
The entire Mediteranean diet in one salad: fish, feta, olives, olive oil, tomatoes, greens

A Roasted Salmon over Greens and Roasted Vegetables

Elegant and easy salmon with roasted vegetables
A colorful, crowd-pleasing and easy mix of salmon and vegetables

 

 

 

A Salade Nicoise of Sorts

Greek Week moved a few hundred miles West down the Mediterranean last night for one of our longstanding favorites that can absolutely take a seat at the table of the Mediterranean Diet. While I suspect that my version of a Salade Nicoise might be lacking in authenticity, this is my story of what a Salade Nicoise is all about and I’m sticking with it.

Ingredients

  • 4 hard-boiled eggs
  • 10-12 extra small potatoes (red, white or purple!)
  • 1 large can of white, Albacore tuna fish
  • Two medium tomatoes
  • 12 oz. fresh spinach
  • 1/3 cup Kalamata olives
  • (Fresh green beans did not make it to my list of 100 Ingredients this year, so I did not include them, but they are a welcome addition to a Salade Nicoise).
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  • Place 4 eggs in a pan of lukewarm water and bring to a boil for 1 minute. Turn off the heat and keep eggs in the hot water for 12 minutes. Immerse cooked eggs in cold water. Peel and cut in half.
  • In another pan, cover potatoes with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook until soft (about 15 minutes). If larger potatoes are used, cut into halves or fourths.
  • Cut tomatoes into wedges.
  • Combine lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and Dijon mustard. Shake or whisk thoroughly.
  • Cover a medium-sized platter with fresh spinach leaves.
  • Drain tuna and add to the center of the platter.
  • Line with potatoes, tomato wedges and hard-boiled eggs. Add Kalamata olives to the top.
  • Sprinkle dressing over all and serve immediately.