Have you ever heard someone say, “I don’t like fish—just salmon”? As a former fish-hater (now reformed), I find this pretty darn backwards. Salmon is one of the “fishiest” tasting fish out there. If you like salmon, you should give white fish a try—I’m talking tilapia, halibut, sea bass, flounder, red snapper or ruffy. These fish are ridiculously high in protein, minerals, and healthy fats (polyunsaturated and monounsaturated, which reduce your “bad” cholesterol and increase your “good” cholesterol), and the complete lack of “fishy” flavor is an added bonus.
Many of the most well-known white-fish recipes call for the fish to be deep-fried (think fish tacos, fish and chips, fish sticks). While delicious, the breading and oil add unwanted saturated fat and calories. Better cooking methods include grilling, broiling, baking, and steaming. Use any of these methods for the recipe below.
While you’ll find a plethora of recipes for leftover chicken, I sometimes find myself at a loss for what to do with leftover fish. That’s where this recipe comes in. It’s basically a crab cake with flaked white fish swapped for pricey crabmeat. These yummy fish cakes, slathered in a creamy tartar-like sauce, are everything summery and fresh. The cilantro, lemon and scallions lend a bright flavor that makes the meal seem quite gourmet. These could be a homerun for your kids; my one-year-old gobbled them down like that.
Flaked, leftover fish will be a-okay in your fridge for about two days, so you could have grilled fish on Monday and, using leftovers, fish cakes on Wednesday. If you’d like to go straight to the cakes, just cook your fish however’s easiest for you, and flake with a fork.
Thai Fish Cakes with Kicked-Up Tartar Sauce
For the cakes
1 lb. flaked, cooked white fish*
1 cup finely chopped scallions
¼ cup chopped cilantro
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. lemon zest (or zest from one lemon)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1½ cups whole-wheat bread crumbs
2 egg whites
2 tsp. low-sodium soy sauce
For the tarter sauce
1 cup two-percent plain Greek yogurt
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp. finely chopped cilantro
2 scallions, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, combine fish, scallions, cilantro, garlic, lemon zest, salt, pepper and bread crumbs.
3. Add egg, egg whites and soy sauce. Stir to combine.
4. Using your hands, form eight four-inch cakes (about 1 inch thickness).
5. Line a baking sheet with foil and coat with nonstick spray.
6. Set cakes on top and transfer sheet to oven. Bake for 12 minutes or until light brown.
7. While cakes cook, make tarter sauce by combining ingredients in a small bowl.
8. Transfer fish cakes to plates and top with tarter sauce.
*To cook the fish, heat a nonstick skillet on medium-high heat and add one to two tablespoons olive oil. Lay fish in pan and cook till golden brown, then flip and cook until opaque. Cool, and the flake with a fork.
Per serving: 394 calories, 8 fat grams, 95 milligrams cholesterol, 800 milligrams sodium, 776 milligrams potassium, 5 grams carbs, 39 grams protein.
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Becca Boyd is a wife and new mom who teaches culinary courses to students at Radnor High School. She creates healthy and delicious recipes in her West Chester kitchen and blogs about them on her website, Home Beccanomics.