Friday, April 19, 2013

Frugal Foodie Friday - Tuna Cakes

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Most of you are too young to be familiar with the malady called the Walton Syndrome. While it is not a mental or physical problem, the syndrome is a state of mind that periodically afflicts those of us who followed the television series, The Waltons, back in the 1970's. The show centered on the lives of a large extended family who lived in rural Virginia during the Great Depression and World War II. The series focused on love of family and how family needs, as well as those of the larger community, were met in difficult times. The show, whose message focused on endurance and the common good, struck a chord with viewers who yearned for a simpler time and, for years, they faithfully followed the family as they overcame the obstacles placed in their way. That yearning was called the Walton Syndrome and those aspects of their lifestyle that emphasized harmonious communal living were considered to be a prescription for surviving difficult times. Now, I haven't thought about the Waltons in years, and it is a bit embarrassing to admit that a can of tuna fish is what seemed to spark my reverie. Tuna cakes disappeared from my table years ago, but I thought they'd make a wonderful feature for Frugal Foodie Friday. Canned tuna is still cheap and the cakes are simple to make. I stopped making them because I, quite simply, tired of them. They were a weekly feature in my mother's kitchen and the Silver Fox and I had then often in the early years of our marriage. Canned tuna is one of the items found in supplemental food boxes, so I thought these tuna cakes would make a great frugal Friday feature. The recipe is put together from taste memory and it is really easy to follow. The only point at which you might encounter trouble comes while the cakes are frying. If you attempt to turn the cakes before the bottom has crusted, they will fall apart on you. While that will not affect their flavor, it may affect your appetite. I like to serve these with Brazilian Tomato Rice which you can find, here. I do think the cakes need a sauce of some type. While tartar sauce is a nice accompaniment I prefer to serve the cakes with salsa, which I think is a better match for the cilantro in the recipe. If you are looking for something that is fast, easy and inexpensive to make I hope you'll give these tuna cakes a try. They are really nice. Here is the recipe.

Tuna Cakes...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite

2 cans (6-oz. each) tuna packed in water, drained
1/4 cup plain dried bread crumbs
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
2 tablespoon chopped chives or green onion tops
Juice and zest of one small lemon
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
Salt and pepper to taste
1 large egg, beaten
2 squirts of hot sauce (i.e. Texas Pete)
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup prepared salsa

1) Combine tuna, bread crumbs, cilantro, chives, lemon juice and zest, mayonnaise in a medium bowl Season to taste with salt and pepper (I used 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper). Combine egg with hot sauce and add to tuna mixture, mixing gently until ingredients come together.
2) Form into six (1/3 cup each ) tuna cakes.
3) Heat oil and butter in a large non-stick skillet set over medium heat. When hot, add tuna cakes and cook until golden brown and crisp, about 2 minutes per side. Serve hot with salsa. Yield: 6 cakes to feed 3 people.

One Year Ago Today: Buckeye Brownie Bars

Two Years Ago Today: Boulettes - Meatballs with Tomato Sauce

Three Years Ago Today: Eggs in Purgatory

Four Years Ago Today: Lemon Rice Cake with Warm Blackberry Sauce


Jeannie Tay said...

This is a meal that I would love to prepare for it's simplicity and I suspect would taste good served with rice as well...hope you have a good weekend:)

Catherine said...

Dear Mary, These cakes may be frugal, but I bet they taste like a thousand dollars!! Blessings dear. Catherine xoxo

Ginny said...

I always have plenty of tuna, I buy it at Costco and it is always beautiful, so I can't WAIT to make these. My problem is always the falling apart, but I will take your advice. Do you think I can use Panko? We live near the Walton's real house, about a 20 minute ride. I have many pictures and will post it sometime. Across the street from it is The Walton's Museum.

bellini said...

I am quite certain that my daughter was named after Erin on the series the Waltons. My mom always made salmon cakes and I have always enjoyed the tuna version.

Sugar et al said...

Wow..gorgeous Tuna Cakes! I love fish cakes and make them quite often but if they could look half as good as yours Mary..

Tanna at The Brick Street Bungalow said...

Ah, yes. The Walton syndrome. Good night, John boy. ;) loved it.

This sounds like a great one to have in the recipe box! Thank you, Mary. blessings ~ tanna

From the Kitchen said...

I was a big fan of the Waltons (from my bassinet, of course)! In fact, I gave my son and DIL a dvd of the original movie for Christmas. Like Ginny, I was a fairly close neighbor. There's always a can or two of tuna in our pantry and this sounds like a good showcase for them.

Have a great weekend.


Kim G. said...

Love fish cakes of all sorts, it's good, easy to prepare and really good. And with a sauce, it is better:)

Jenn said...

I think I have been suffering from Walton Syndrome lately :) And yes, I remember the Walton's!!!
Tuna is one of those items that I always have in the house.. it's a good quick "go to" type ingredient. I use it in pasta and love making tuna cakes. These sound really good and I will have to try them with the sauce next time! Have a great Friday, Mary!

David said...

Mary, We've done salmon patties before but for some reason, we've just never thought about tuna cakes or patties. We like tuna so thanks for the idea! Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Mr. & Mrs. P said...

Hum never tried tuna patties before... Sure they are delicious!!!

Guru Uru said...

These look so flavoursome :D
Would be great in a burger!

Choc Chip Uru

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Patrick said...

Ich möchte es zu essen, sieht sehr lecker.

Rhodesia said...

I had also forgotten about the Waltons!! Love ideas like this with tuna, will certainly make these some time in the next week. Thanks. Take care and have a good weekend Diane

Ola said...

Yum yum yum! My nieces would love those cakes :) Have a lovely day, Mary! :)

decocinasytacones said...

Oh God!, I think I used to watch "The Waltons", not so sure but I think so.
What a wonderful tuna cakes you´ve made us today.

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Jena Louis Won said...

I like tuna SO MUCH!
This post make me hungry lol.
actually my major is culinary!

Fern @ To Food With Love said...

I'd forgotten about the Waltons! What a long time ago...
Anyway, love the idea of serving these tuna cakes with hot salsa. Looks very appetizing!

AdriBarr said...

Oh my, but I have not thought of The Waltons in ages either. What wonderful messages they gave to us all. Thanks for the reminder. I think that frugal cooking make a lot of sense, and not just because times are hard now. Often the foods from our own regions are less expensive that imported goods or goods that have been transported across the country, Also to use things that are grown near where one lives (thereby avoiding the high cost of transporting something)is to respect and honor the farmers, growers and manufacturers in our own regions.

Claudia said...

Never forgot the Waltons. I am just sentimental enough! I never make anything with tuna - this is a lovely reminder.

kitchen flavours said...

Your tuna cakes looks so good! The Waltons remains one of our favourite show when we were very young!

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