Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Lunch Week 16: Asian Salmon Potato Cakes

So every Sunday, I head over to the kitchen to whip up a big batch of food for lunch next week. Yes, I brown bag. And I almost always do it, unless I become too busy to even buy cold cuts from the deli. I do it for several reasons being health, finance, and laziness. Now, you may think that spending hours on a day off to prep and cook five meals at once is hardly lazy. But let me remind you, I hate it when the time comes to decide what to eat for lunch every day. I work in Midtown so the choices are endless. My problem, the more choices, the harder it is for me. So it's much easier for me to have my lunch ready and already decided. So my lunch for the week: Asian Salmon Potato Cakes with Miso dressing I've made this recipe before but this time I added a little twist. It has Asian flavors to it. Specifically, I added lots of Japanese flavors because it's very unique and I had leftover ingredients. First, I made the marinade for the salmon. It consisted of the usual miso paste, mirin, rice vinegar, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Mix well. Pour half the marinade all over the fish (skinless salmon fillets) Marinate for 1 hour in the fridge. Be careful. This stuff can be very salty so too much time in the fridge will make it inedible. In the meantime, prepare the potatoes. I used regular Idaho russet potatoes for their starchiness. Peel and cut into small cubes. Next place in pot with cold, salted water. Boil until fork tender. Drain well then place back into hot pot. This allows the potatoes to dry out a little more. Mash directly in pot. Add a little butter or cream for smoothness. Now the greens. I used baby arugula and spinach. They're more tender. Also, for a slight bite, I chopped up some scallions. Place these vegetables right into the pot of potatoes. The heat should help wilt them down. You can turn the stove on low for a little help. Watch carefully or the bottom will start to burn. As the potato mixture cools down, now it's time to take out your salmon and cook them. Try to scrape off as much of the marinade as possible. It tends to burn easily. Cook on medium heat until done. I usually place the fish in an oiled pan. Then watch until the doneness comes up halfway up the side of the fish. Flip and cook the other side a little shorter than the first side. I like to have my fish medium but if you like your own more well done, leave it on a little longer. Cool slightly. Using the same pan, add the other half of the marinade and some water. The residual heat will cook the sauce. Stir well. And now I have a dressing. After the fish has rested, flake the fillets. Then add it to the potato mixture and stir together until well incorporated. Fill a plate with some bread crumbs. Form patties out of the salmon potato mixture and coat with bread crumbs. Heat up another pan on medium and toast the cakes on both sides until browned. This step helps the cake keep its shape. And it adds a nice crunchy texture to the outside. The potato helps dull down the saltiness of the marinade. The vegetables adds a nice texture to an otherwise mushy patty. And the scallions give it a surprising fresh kick. The salmon isn't fishy at all. And the flavor is very prominent in this dish. The dressing just adds a little more of that Asian flavor.

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