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Dinner Tonight! | Quick Fix

Save the Crabs--Make Fish Cakes

May 31, 2000|KATHY GUNST | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Fish cakes used to be a standby of American family dinners, particularly on Friday nights. Though fresh fish is available at nearly every grocery store these days, fish cakes--made with canned or leftover cooked fish--are worth rediscovering.

These come together in a flash: Simply mix the ingredients in a work bowl and fry. Serve them with lemon or lime wedges and a simple yogurt-cucumber-dill sauce. Toss a salad and add warm, crusty bread. A bottle of crisp, cold white wine would make an ideal accompaniment.

Menu

Salmon Cakes

Yogurt-Cucumber-Dill Sauce

Salad

Crusty Bread

Salmon Cakes

Active Work and Total Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Olive oil

1/4 cup finely chopped onion

1 small red bell pepper, finely chopped

Salt

Freshly ground pepper

1 (14 3/4-ounce) can salmon, drained

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley

3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill

Juice from 1 large lemon

1/4 cup whipping cream

About 3/4 cup fresh bread crumbs

Dash hot pepper sauce

Lemon and lime wedges, for garnish

Sprigs fresh dill, for garnish

* Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in large skillet over moderately low heat. Add onion and saute 3 minutes. Add bell pepper and salt and pepper to taste and saute 5 minutes longer, stirring frequently to prevent browning.

* Separate salmon into flakes in large bowl, using fork. Add parsley, dill and lemon juice. Add sauteed vegetables and cream and stir to mix. Add enough bread crumbs to hold mixture together. Taste for seasoning and add additional salt, pepper or hot pepper sauce. (Mixture can be made 1 hour ahead.)

* Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large skillet over moderately high heat. Using your hands, form salmon mixture into 8 (2 1/2-inch) cakes. Add cakes to skillet, being careful not to crowd pan (cook in batches if necessary), and gently press down with spatula to flatten. Cook 3 minutes, flip cakes, flatten again and cook 2 minutes more. Remove to an oven-proof plate and keep warm in 250-degree oven. Repeat with remaining mixture, adding oil as needed. Serve hot with lemon and lime wedge, topped with sprigs of dill.

4 main-course servings. Each serving: 320 calories; 757 mg sodium; 79 mg cholesterol; 19 grams fat; 13 grams carbohydrates; 23 grams protein; 0.23 gram fiber.

Yogurt-Cucumber-Dill Sauce

Active Work and Total Preparation Time: 5 minutes plus 15 minutes chilling.

If you have time, this can be made several hours in advance.

1 cup plain low-fat yogurt

1 cup peeled and grated cucumber

3 tablespoons minced fresh dill

Pepper

Hot pepper sauce

* Combine yogurt, cucumber, dill, pepper and hot sauce to taste. Chill in refrigerator or freezer. Serve cold.

Makes 1 cup. Each tablespoon: 7 calories; 10 mg sodium; 0 cholesterol; 0 fat; 1 gram carbohydrates; 1 gram protein; 0.04 gram fiber.

GAME PLAN

30 minutes before: Prepare filling for salmon cakes.

20 minutes before: Prepare yogurt sauce.

10 minutes before: Cook salmon cakes.

Just before serving: Heat bread in warm oven and assemble lemon and lime garnishes.

INGREDIENTS Shopping List

Crusty bread

Cucumber

Dill

Parsley

Red bell pepper

Whipping cream

Staples

Bread crumbs

Canned salmon

Hot pepper sauce

Lemons

Limes

Olive oil

Onion

Yogurt

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