Healthful cooking

A moist, flavorful fish cake that’s good for you, too


Main dish

Wasabi-Salmon Cakes With Pickled Cucumber

1 1/2 cups thinly sliced seedless cucumber

1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

4 tablespoons canola oil, divided

1 cup finely chopped yellow onion

12 ounces canned, boneless, skinless salmon

1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise

2 to 3 teaspoons prepared wasabi

1 cup crushed sesame-flavored rice crackers (about 32)

In a small bowl, toss the cucumber, ginger, vinegar, salt and sugar. Let stand for 10 minutes while you prepare the remaining ingredients.

In a large nonstick skillet over medium, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the onion and cook until golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl. Reserve the skillet.

Add the salmon to the onion along with the mayonnaise, wasabi, crushed crackers and 1/4 cup of the liquid from the marinated cucumbers. Form into 6 patties.

Return the skillet to medium-high heat. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons oil and the salmon patties. Cook until golden, about 3 minutes. Add the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons oil, turn the cakes over and cook until golden on the second side, about another 3 minutes.

Transfer to 6 plates and top each salmon cake with a mound of the pickled cucumber. Makes 6 servings.

Per serving: 230 calories, 120 calories from fat (52 percent of calories), 13 g fat (1 g saturated, 0 trans fats), 45 mg cholesterol, 15 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 2 g sugar, 16 g protein, 500 mg sodium.

Associated Press

Like most Americans of a certain age, I ate canned tuna all the time when I was growing up. But canned salmon? No thanks. Why would I bother with it when fresh salmon is readily available?

But Pacific wild salmon, the most sustainable choice, turns out to be very seasonal. And very pricey when it is available. So, I decided to give canned salmon a whirl.

Well, it turns out that canned salmon is delicious, and perfectly suited to swap in for canned tuna in any of the recipes I love. The only downside is that it can be dry. So for a fish-cake recipe, I had to dream up ingredients to make the cakes moist – and still healthy.

I started with sautéed onion, letting it get a little caramelized to add extra flavor. Then I added low-fat mayonnaise, a good moisturizer and not bad tasting, especially if you cut its sweetness with a little vinegar. To bind the cakes I used crushed sesame rice crackers.

Heat-wise, I went with wasabi, which glorifies fish. At the supermarket, you’ll find two main varieties of wasabi: the powdered kind, which is shelf-stable (you just add water) and wasabi in a tube, which must be refrigerated after being opened. Either will work nicely in this recipe.

These salmon cakes are topped off with cucumber pickles flavored with rice vinegar and fresh ginger. The pickle liquid also helps to bind the cakes, while the crunch of the cucumber slices provides a pleasing contrast to the cakes’ tender texture. These little pickles are so quick and easy to make – you’re done in 10 minutes – I don’t know why I don’t make them more often.

Sara Moulton hosts public television’s “Sara’s Weeknight Meals” and is the author, most recently, of “Sara Moulton’s Everyday Family Dinners.”

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