Sunday, August 24, 2008

Tuna latkes

When I was small(er), my grandmother used to make salmon latkes. I loved them, for a while.

Canned salmon is high in calcium. Know why? Because the canners don't bother to debone the fish. Salmon bones are soft and easily digested, and they are, of course, high in calcium - they're freaking bones.

One day, I found a whole vertebra in my canned salmon, and that pretty much turned me off canned salmon for good. I'm not a fan of any salmon at the best of times - unless it's smoked or raw. I find cooked salmon to have a dry taste that's mildly unpleasant to me, no matter how wet the fish actually is.

Elvi is away at a conference and my mother and sister are in town and I guess the convergence of all of that led me to consider making salmon latkes for the kids' and my supper - for a minute. I quickly modified my mental menu to tuna latkes.

Here's what I came up with, and, boy, are they delicious. This recipe might feed five as part of a full meal. The three kids and I left two and a half for leftovers.

4 can tuna packed in water
6 large eggs
1 medium onion, chopped small, but not diced
1.5 cups breadcrumbs
3 tablespoons fresh dill
salt and pepper
oil for frying (I used peanut)

Open the cans of tuna and drain them briefly. Leave enough water to keep the tuna sopping wet. Dump it all in a big bowl and break up the tuna into bite-sized or smaller pieces if it's chunk-style.

Add the eggs and scramble the tuna/egg mixture. Add the breadcrumbs, dill, and onion and mix thoroughly. Salt and pepper to taste and mix again. Allow the bowl of glop to sit at least 15 minutes.

Heat a frying pan with a quarter inch or so of oil to medium-low heat.

While the oil heats, form latke patties. Wet your hands, and grab a small handful of glop. Form it into a patty no more than half an inch thick. Any thicker and the outside will burn before the inside cooks through. Use your thumbs to make the edges of the patties perpendicular, like a hamburger.

Put the patties in the oil and cook until golden brown (a few minutes). If you've had trouble getting the latkes thin enough, you can press them flatter with a spatula when you add them to the pan. Flip and cook the other side to the same doneness, drain excess oil and eat.

You'll have to add more oil between batches. I found I had sufficient time to make the next batch of patties while one batch cooked, so you can save time that way.

No one thought these needed any condiment, but I can see sour cream being a nice Baltic addition.

Bonus dinner discussion:

Last night, I had a mojito and a chocolate key lime martini for supper at a bar with the curiously English name of Plan B Bar. The mojito was difficult to drink because the mint had been obliterated rather than muddled and it was difficult to drink without eating mint pulp. I like a hint of mint but dislike eating mint leaf - a preference picked up on a cross-country flight when I was small and ate a mint-leaf garnish back when airplane meals not existed, but had garnishes, too. But the martini, although it stretched the definition of that word, was amazing. I wish I could remember what was in it.


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