Comfort Food on a Dime

Fry up these golden-brown salmon cakes using inexpensive pantry staples, most of which you probably already have in your cupboard.



In the curious world of kitchen fashion, ingredients and recipes float in and out of favor constantly.

When I was a child, my mother's pantry always contained a selection of boxed Jell-O and puddings that became the basis of her everyday desserts. She could whip up a chocolate pudding pie in no time with bananas on the bottom and whipped cream or chopped nuts on the top. Jell-O was mixed with canned fruit to make mini parfaits. These days, I don't see or hear as much about these versatile dessert staples.

Another underrated cupboard essential my mom always kept on hand is canned fish such as tuna or salmon, which was relied on in the era before farm-raised tilapia, salmon and catfish. The number of recipes for tuna casseroles is endless! And while I prefer a meal based on fresh fish, there is something wonderfully nostalgic and comforting about some of the traditional dishes that graced the tables of my youth.

Almost every family had a treasured recipe for salmon cakes - one can of the flaky pink fish could be stretched to feed a family of four. Add a tasty sauce, and it was practically company-worthy fare.

This salmon-cake recipe is easily good enough to revive the reputation of that nearly forgotten dish. And if you really want to snuggle under the culinary comforter, add a bubbling casserole of cauliflower with a spicy cheese sauce.

Salmon Cakes
(Serves 2-4)
 

Ingredients:

14 ounces canned salmon (I prefer the Alaskan Red Sockeye variety)
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon fresh dill, chopped
1/4 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter

Sauce:
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
Reserved juice from salmon
Enough milk to measure 1 cup when combined with juice from salmon
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon fresh dill

Instructions:
Drain salmon, reserving liquid. In a bowl, combine egg, salt, pepper, dill and breadcrumbs. Add salmon and stir until smooth. Form into 4 large cakes. Heat oil and butter in a frying pan and fry cakes until golden-brown on both sides. Remove to a platter and keep warm. To make a sauce, add the butter and flour to the pan. Stir over medium heat to form a roux. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes without allowing the mixture to brown. Add the reserved salmon juice and milk and whisk until the sauce is smooth. Thin with additional milk if too thick. Take off the heat and add the lemon juice and fresh dill. Serve over the cakes.

Cauliflower with Cheese Sauce 

Ingredients:

1 large head cauliflower
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 cup milk
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced

Instructions:
Clean and boil or steam cauliflower until just tender, about 6 minutes. Cool and cut into bite-sized pieces. Set aside. In a saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Add flour, salt, pepper and dry mustard. Add the milk and stir until the sauce comes to a boil and thickens. Add the cheese and stir until it is melted. Place the cauliflower in a baking dish. Cover it with the sliced eggs and pour over the cheese sauce. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Growing Their Own Way: Inside 4 Pittsburgh Family Farms

Growing Their Own Way: Inside 4 Pittsburgh Family Farms

Family-run farms adapt in multiple ways in order to thrive in western Pennsylvania.
Loud & Proud: In the Booth with Voice of the Pittsburgh Pirates

Loud & Proud: In the Booth with Voice of the Pittsburgh Pirates

Greg Brown knows anything is possible for his beloved Buccos. His career has had its share of surprise turns as well.
Flavorful Tacos are Main Attraction at Lawrenceville's SMOKE

Flavorful Tacos are Main Attraction at Lawrenceville's SMOKE

Reasonable prices and a lively atmosphere make SMOKE barbeque taqueria one of Pittsburgh's go-to restaurants.
Belief and (Tough) Love Drives Pitt's New Football Coach

Belief and (Tough) Love Drives Pitt's New Football Coach

Pitt football head coach Pat Narduzzi is determined to make the Panthers believe in themselves and their program.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

You Might Want This Newly Signed Penguin to Read to Your Kids

You Might Want This Newly Signed Penguin to Read to Your Kids

The newest member of the Pittsburgh Penguins has an unusual side-gig.
Steelers President Admits 'I Stole Joe Greene's Car'

Steelers President Admits 'I Stole Joe Greene's Car'

What's equally surprising is that it took a decade before Greene ever found out about it.
Watch: Korean Broadcaster's Epic Call of Kang's Winning Homer

Watch: Korean Broadcaster's Epic Call of Kang's Winning Homer

Most of us won't understand a word of it, but it really doesn't matter.
King of 'Donkey Kong' to be Crowned in Pittsburgh

King of 'Donkey Kong' to be Crowned in Pittsburgh

ReplayFX, a massive video-game gathering, will fill the David L. Lawrence Convention Center this weekend with more than 700 playable arcade games and pinball machines.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Growing Their Own Way: Inside 4 Pittsburgh Family Farms

Growing Their Own Way: Inside 4 Pittsburgh Family Farms

Family-run farms adapt in multiple ways in order to thrive in western Pennsylvania.
Loud & Proud: In the Booth with Voice of the Pittsburgh Pirates

Loud & Proud: In the Booth with Voice of the Pittsburgh Pirates

Greg Brown knows anything is possible for his beloved Buccos. His career has had its share of surprise turns as well.
Flavorful Tacos are Main Attraction at Lawrenceville's SMOKE

Flavorful Tacos are Main Attraction at Lawrenceville's SMOKE

Reasonable prices and a lively atmosphere make SMOKE barbeque taqueria one of Pittsburgh's go-to restaurants.
Belief and (Tough) Love Drives Pitt's New Football Coach

Belief and (Tough) Love Drives Pitt's New Football Coach

Pitt football head coach Pat Narduzzi is determined to make the Panthers believe in themselves and their program.
PittGirl's Reliable & Delightful Crash Course on Pittsburgh

PittGirl's Reliable & Delightful Crash Course on Pittsburgh

She shares the truth about everything from driving technique to Terrible Towel etiquette for anyone new to the 'Burgh.
Top Dentists 2015

Top Dentists 2015

The Pittsburgh region's 346 premier dentists in 9 specialties.
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module