Tuna Fish Cakes

Tuna Fish Cakes

 

I am hoping to dispel any misgivings you may harbor from uninspired encounters with tuna burgers that you may have had in your past.

But Canned tuna fish cakes?

Well, as the old English saying goes “penny wise and pound foolish.” Erring on the side of thrift in this case has its surprising rewards. Yes of course you could go out and spend a small fortune for the finest fresh tuna that money could buy. But, with a dash of know how and a pinch of tempered seasonings, a can of tuna can be transformed into beautifully light fish cakes that are every bit as beguiling as fresh tuna cakes or, for that matter, fresh crab cakes at a fraction of the cost.

These tuna cakes, topped with a horseradish sauce and crisp watercress, are wonderful just as are, or try them tucked into a toasted bun for a light and zesty sandwich.

Tuna Fish Cake Sandwich

Tuna Fish Cake Sandwich

 

Tuna Fish Cakes:  makes 6

  • 2 cans chunk white tuna packed in spring water
  • 3 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 1/3 cup finely diced celery
  • 3-4 teaspoons capers, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons finely sliced flat leaf parsley
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • ¾ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • sea salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
  • 1 large organic egg
  • 2 tablespoons full fat Greek yogurt (or sour cream)
  • pinch of cayenne
  • 1¼ cups bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon butter + 1 tablespoon olive oil
  •  rolls, lightly toasted (if making sandwiches)
  • several hands full of fresh crisp watercress
  • lemon wedges

Carefully remove the tuna from the cans without breaking it up too much and place in a colander. Drain well and transfer the tuna to a mixing bowl.

Add the shallots, celery, capers, and parsley to the bowl and gently fold the ingredients together.

In a small bowl combine the mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, and lemon juice and whisk together until smooth. Spoon the mixture over the tuna mixture and fold it in until well combined. Sprinkle ¼ cup of the bread crumbs over the surface.

In another small bowl combine the egg, Greek yogurt (or sour cream), and the cayenne and whisk together until smooth. Spoon over the tuna mixture and fold in until evenly combined. Cover the bowl with cling film and refrigerate for 1 hour or place in the freezer for 20 minutes.

Spread the remaining bread crumbs in a shallow bowl.

With the tuna mixture well chilled, fill a 1/3 cup measure with the tuna mixture and place the mixture in the palms of your hands. Gently form it into a 2 ½ inch round cake about ¾ inch in thickness without compressing any more than is necessary for the cake to just hold together.

Gently blot the cake with a paper towel and then dredge the cake in the bread crumbs to coat evenly. Gently pat the crumbs onto the surface of the cake and transfer it to a parchment lined tray.

Make the remaining tuna cakes and cover the tray with cling film. Refrigerator for 30 minutes or place in the freezer for 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350f/180c

Place a medium size heavy bottomed non stick skillet over medium low flame on the stove top. When hot add the butter and oil oil and swirl the pan. When the fat starts to bubble gently place 3 cakes in the pan without crowding and brown for 2 to 2 ½ minutes. The cakes will seem quite delicate but they will firm up a bit once they have browned. Very gently turn the cakes over and brown another 2 ½ minutes. Transfer the cakes to a baking tray and set aside.

Brown the reaming three cakes, place them on the baking tray.

Transfer the tray to the preheated oven. Bake for 12-15 minutes. The cakes should be nicely browned and just slightly firm to the touch. Do not over bake!

Serving:

Transfer the cakes straight out of the oven to a platter or individual plates. Top with the sauce and generously garnish with crisp watercress and lemon wedges to the side.

If you are making sandwiches, have the rolls halved and lightly toasted. Spread a little sauce on the bottom half of the roll. Place the tuna cake in the center. Top with a nice dollop of sauce and a generous bunch of watercress. Serve with the top of the bun ajar. Spritz with a little lemon juice, adjust the top of the bun over all and dig in!

Horseradish Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons full fat Greek yogurt (or sour cream)
  • 1½ to 2 tablespoons horseradish
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • sea salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste

Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

 

You might also like to try Maryland Crab Cakes (see recipe here)

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