Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Stealth Veg Salmon Patties for Picky Eaters

I've written before about the horrible stomach flu of '15, the one that resulted in the monster refusing pretty much all solid food from about a week after we introduced it at 6 months until he was over a year old. When he started to accept puffs and mum mums and other flavoured starch, we fed it to him gladly. And now we have a monkey who basically only wants starch and/or sugar.

We're not a sit at the table until your plate is clean kind of family. We don't bribe with treats, we don't ever force the monster to eat an arbitrary number of bites to say that he is "done". But, while I don't doubt our food-related philosophies, it can't be said that I'm happy with the monster's diet.

So, without further ado, here's a recipe for salmon patties that I made/stole/heavily modified in order to get some green stuff in his stomach. The monster LOVES these things, despite them being full of veggies that he wouldn't normally touch with a ten foot pole.

This recipe probably makes 12-14 patties, which should theoretically be enough to freeze leftovers. But I wasn't exaggerating when I said the monster LOVES them, so I've only managed to freeze some once, and they were gone by the end of the following day.


  • 1/2 to 1 cup of vegetables*
  • 1 can of boneless, skinless salmon (in water, not oil)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups of bread crumbs
  • Some butter (unsalted)
  • Black pepper to taste

Also, a piece or two of paper towel.

*With regards to the vegetables: I don't have a specific list, and you can put whatever you want in there. As long as your little one doesn't hate it, I feel like onion is a must. If you're going to be eating these things too, as long as you don't hate it, celery. Celery and salmon were made to go together. It's practically criminal not to include it. I've never tried it, but I would avoid really distinct flavours like broccoli; you don't want to overwhelm the salmon.

Despite being picky, the monster loves strong, somewhat spicy flavours, so our usual mix includes 1/2 a white onion and a clove of garlic,  as well as 2 sticks of celery and a small parsnip. Today, I also snuck in a carrot, some green onion and an extra celery stick.

  1. Finely grate vegetables. I like the graters that are kind of like pyramids, so the veggies are contained when you're finished. Also, I'm paranoid about celery being a choking hazard because it's so stringy, but with these things, the stringy bits get left on the outside of the grater, so they can be thrown out. Also, you can grate green onions to a point, but the actual green parts, you'll need to mince, if that's something you decide to include.
    • Handy tip: don't cut off the bit of the veg that you plan to throw away (the carrot top, celery bottom, etc); it makes a great handle so you can grate more of the usable part without hurting your fingers.
  2. While the veggies are still inside the grater, tilt the plate or bowl or whatever you're grating them onto so that all the liquid pools and soak it up with the paper towel. Onions and celery are especially watery, so this bit is important.
  3. Drain the salmon. You don't need the water, so it can go down the drain, unless you have a purpose for keeping it.
  4. Add salmon to the veg mixture and flake it with a fork, while stirring it into the vegetables. Add black pepper to taste. Make sure the mixture is pretty consistent. I feel like I should throw in the word heterogeneous, which is accurate, if a little pompous. 
  5. Beat/whisk eggs in a separate bowl, then add to the veggie/salmon mixture. This bit looks gross, just FYI. Mix well.
  6. Add some bread crumbs. Not all. I find that if I dust the top of the mixture, stir it, dust it again, etc. That works best. You want to get it to the consistency that you can form it into patties. They should be uncomfortably sticky, but not gluey. Basically when you remove your hand from a patty, you can expect some residue, but you shouldn't have big chunks of stuff sticking to your hands.
  7. Once you form a patty, place it in your remaining dry breadcrumbs, then flip it over. It should be nicely coated. It helps to pour some of your remaining breadcrumbs into a bowl first, and keep some in the measuring cup. That way, if you don't use them all, you can keep them, rather than worry about raw egg/fish contamination.
  8. Fry in a small amount of butter on medium-high heat (reduce if your butter starts to burn, but keep in mind, you need to make sure the eggs get cooked) until brown & crispy.

Possible substitutions: I'm assuming you can replace the eggs with whatever you would normally replace eggs with, if you're vegan or allergic or whatever. The purpose of the eggs is basically to hold everything together, so if you have something else that will do so, go for it. I'm certain you can switch out the butter for a little bit of olive oil, because I've done so with very little change to the taste/texture. And I'm pretty sure that you could remove the salmon altogether, though keep in mind that the breadcrumbs kind of dull the flavour a bit, so a small amount of salt or maybe other spices wouldn't go amiss.

Freezing: You can freeze these (once they're cooked) and then just bring them out and fry them from frozen. I like to cut little squares of wax paper to put between them, to stop them from sticking together.

Some non-food-related posts will be along in a bit.

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