The reinitiation of the Great Tuna Cake Project of 2006 (or thereabouts) was not met with much enthusiasm. To be fair, previous failures were bland, dry, and barely edible. The groans were well-justified.
Thankfully for my test tasters, my culinary skills have improved over the past 10 years. Groan no more! These are both crispy and full of flavor. The sriracha adds a nice touch of spice. This time, my crew even asked for seconds. It’s a good thing I was able to capture photographic evidence of the endeavor because even the styled plate was devoured not a minute after finishing this photo shoot.
Tuna Cakes with Sriracha Aioli
For Tuna Cakes:
- 4 5-ounce cans solid, white tuna -- drained
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 Tablespoons mayo
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/4 cup minced shallot
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 Tablespoon Old Bay seasoning
- 1/4 cup minced cilantro (or parsley)
- 1/2 cup matzo meal
- 1/2 cup panko
- 6 Tablespoons olive oil
- For Sriracha aioli sauce:
- 1/4 cup mayo
- 1 Tablespoon Sriracha Sauce
- 1/2 Tablespoon lemon juice
- In a medium bowl, mix together drained tuna, eggs, mayo, lemon juice, shallot, garlic, Old Bay, cilantro, and matzo meal.
- Mix ingredients well. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
- While the tuna mixture is refrigerating, mix together the aioli ingredients.
- Once the tuna mixture has chilled, heat oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat.
- Remove tuna mixture from refrigerator and form into 8 patties.
- Place panko into a shallow dish. Lightly press each tuna cake into panko crumbs.
- Place tuna cakes into heated oil and lightly fry until brown on both sides, about 2-3 minutes each side. This may require cooking in two batches. When cakes are finished browning, place on plate lined with paper towel to absorb any excess oil.
- Serve tuna cakes on a bed of greens. Drizzle with Sriracha aioli.
She says: For a quick and spicy summer meal, serve these along with Fresh Corn and Black Bean Salad!
He says: You might ask, “Does that middle skewer bisect the angle formed by the outer skewers?” To which I’d reply, “Can it, Pythagoras … we’re lookin’ at grilled shrimp here.” But if you insist on getting all geometrical, you’ll observe that the skewers meet at the vertex formed by our old friend, fresh corn and black bean s̶a̶l̶s̶a̶ salad. Note that I don’t call the skewers “rays,” because that would imply that they extend forever from the vertex bowl, and sadly “infinite grilled shrimp” is just too much awesome for this imperfect universe.
In this recipe, we leave the shells on the shrimp to prevent them from drying out. To save time cleaning, pick up some raw, large (or bigger) EZ peel shrimps. Adjust cooking time as necessary.
If using bamboo skewers, soak for at least an hour before using.
- 2 pounds raw shrimp, cleaned with shell on
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 1 lime
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 tablespoon chipotle powder
- 2 cloves garlic, grated or pressed
- Prepare grill.
- Zest and juice lime. Add remaining marinade ingredients and whisk together.
- Add marinade and shrimp to a bowl and toss to coat. Marinade 20 minutes while coals and grill are heating.
- Place shrimp on skewers. Grill for 2-3 minutes each side.
She says: Nicoise (nee-swaz) salad is a great way to get your daily veggies. It also packs in some great protein and healthy fats. And it’s just so darn beautiful! My typically veggie-ambivalent crew doesn’t even complain about this salad.
He says: “Another amazing salad,” says the non-salad guy. I’m being forced to reevaluate my opinions on salad, and I don’t like changing my mind about things. #DYBL!! But seriously, look at that thing: it’s like eating a garden, but better. It’s like eating a garden that grows fish plants and egg stalks in addition to the usual green vegetable stuff. (Can beef sprouts and pork pods be far behind? Get on it, science!)
While the tuna here was pan-seared, feel free to prepare it on the grill. Grilling will add a nice, light smokiness to the fish.
Preparation of the eggs, potatoes, and beans might be a bit more work than you want for a salad, but those can all be prepared even a couple days in advance.
Nicoise olives can be difficult to find. In fact, actual Nicoise olives are quite difficult to come by as they are grown in Cote d'Azur -- and in limited quantities. You are more likely to find Nicoise-style olives, which are still incredibly delicious. Feel free to substitute with any small black olive, such as kalamata or Moroccan dry-cured olives.
- 1 pound tuna steaks
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Kosker salt, to taste
- Black pepper, to taste
- 1 pound green beans, trimmed and blanched
- 1 pound of new potatoes
- 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
- 4 eggs, medium-cooked and peeled
- 1 cup nicoise olives
- 8 cups of salad greens and herbs
For the Dressing:
- 1 clove garlic, crushed or grated
- 2 teaspoons whole seed dijon mustard
- 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Using a medium pot, cover potatoes with salted water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Simmer until tender, about 10 minutes.
- Place eggs into a small pot. Cover with water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover. Remove from heat and allow eggs to sit in the hot water for 6 minutes. Drain water. Run eggs under cold water to cool.
- When potatoes are finished cooking, drain and remove the potatoes to a bowl to cool. Fill the pot again with water and bring to a boil. .
- Fill a mixing bowl with ice water. This will be used to stop the cooking process for the beans.
- Add the green beans to the boiling water. cook for 3 minutes -- just until crisp-tender. Drain and immediately add green beans to the ice water to cool. Drain. Pat dry.
- In a 12-inch skillet over medium-high, heat oil. Season tuna with salt and pepper. When oil is hot, sear tuna for 1 1/2 - 2 minutes on each side until internal temperature reaches 125 degrees. Remove from heat and rest on a plate.
- Whisk together ingredients for the dressing until well-blended.
- Toss greens gently, but well (1-2 minutes), with half of the dressing.
- Line plates with salad greens. Top each plate with a tuna steak. Evenly distribute olives, tomatoes, green beans, potatoes, and halved eggs among plates, arranging as desired.
- Drizzle each plate with remaining dressing.
If you’re looking for a quick meal, this is it. Fish tacos are great in the spring and early summer when mangoes are in season.
Continue reading Fish Tacos with Mango Salsa