At my house we do a fair amount of “snack nights”. Essentially, leftovers meet a new, more interesing existence. Tonight as I clean out the fridge, I drummed up a very good appetizer – salmon cakes! Not a bad haul for “leftovers”, eh?
My fridge contents:
a large slab of wild silver salmon cooked a few nights ago;
half a red bell pepper wilting in the “crisper” drawer;
a couple of celery stalks joining the bell pepper; and
a little bit of onion drying and shriveling on the countertop
My first thought was “salmon cakes” – kind of like crab cakes, only with salmon. Originally I had baked the salmon with parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme, with a drizzle of grapeseed oil and some fresh ground salt and pepper – a treat in itself so I thought the salmon would make some really special salmon cakes.
2-3 cups cooked wild, fresh salmon
2-3 tablespoons finely diced celery
2-3 tablespoons finely diced red bell pepper
2-3 tablespoons finely diced onion
3 cloves minced or grated fresh garlic
1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon warchestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon brown mustard
pinch of black pepper
1 teaspoon butter
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 cup bread crumbs
1-2 cup masa
1/2 cup buttermilk
oil (for frying)
In a sautee pan on medium heat, melt together the butter and olive oil. Sautee celery, bell pepper and onion for 2-3 minutes or until tender crisp. 30 seconds before removing from heat, stir garlic into the vegetable mixture. Remove pan from heat, let rest a couple of minutes, then strain mixture to remove oil. In a large bowl, mix together all other ingredients except for frying oil, bread crumbs and masa until well combined. Form salmon mixture into balls approximately 2 tablespoons in size then flatten balls into a cakes. In a small bowl, combine bread crumbs and masa. Put buttermilk in another small bowl. Preheat 1/2 inch of oil in a large frying pan to medium heat. coat patties first in the bread crumb mixture, then buttermilk, then back in the bread crumb mixture. Place coated cakes on a plate. Fry cakes for about 1 minute per side or until golden brown, making sure not to crowd cakes in the pan. Place fried cakes on a plate lined with paper towels. Serve hot with a little thousand island dressing. Mixture can be made up to 24 hours in advance.
As I think of the concept of leftovers in food, it makes me think of leftovers in life. As we go through trauma, loss and dark periods in our lives, we are almost always “left” standing. Sometimes we are left a different person. Sometimes we are left with wisdom. Many times we are left with guilt, resentment, doubt and fear. Today as you look back on your own past traumas and problems, close your eyes and take 4 deeps breaths, 4 counts in, 4 counts out. As you exhale, let go of all guilt, resentment, doubt and fear. Let it fall away from you. As you let it go, examine all of the good things you are left with. Have you learned new things? Are you stronger? Are you in a better space? How can you use what you know? Can what you’ve been through help others? Are you still breathing? Think of all of the good things you are blessed with. Now imagine each of those wonderful things as tiny little seeds. Imagine placing those seeds in little pots of soil and watering them. Now imagine those seeds, growing and reaching up toward the sun. As you envision your new garden growing, feel yourself growing up toward the sun as well, new and reborn with all of the wonderful things left over within you. When you are ready, open your eyes and take all of the good things you have been left with and march forward with them. Remember that, after all, you were left standing for a reason. That reason is because what is left over has been given to you to make into something greater. Much like a little leftover salmon can be turned into beautiful salmon cakes.