I think it is true to say that I have pretty much exhausted my freezer supplies during January as a result of being ‘poor of purse’ and house-bound due to the weather. And still the rain continues to arrive on a never-ending conveyor belt of storms! So there is nothing for it but to look for meals from the store cupboard … that or face yet another torrential downpour of Noah’s Ark proportions. And I know this isn’t just a UK thing – the US have terrible snow and icy conditions too and conditions around the rest of the world are challenging.
So this week I have delved into the far recesses of my cupboards and retrieved a few basics that have saved the day food wise. I often have a can or two of fish – salmon, tuna, sardines and pilchards tucked away and this time found some versatile Wild Alaska salmon. Lurking there too was a can of chickpeas (a staple of mine) and a can of cooked green lentils. With these as the main ingredients I decided to make some patties – in my case flavoured with some spring onions/scallions, the juice and zest from a solitary lime from the fruit bowl and a grated courgette/zucchini looking lonely in the refrigerator and just begging to be used. These made some pretty fine healthy patties and I think the recipe can be mixed and matched to suit what you have to hand. I’m sure you could use chopped ham, shredded chicken, chopped cooked vegetables like peppers/capsicums, potatoes and corn or a hearty rice mixture instead of the flaked fish. Mix and match these with some beans, lentils and other herbs and spices that you like (I plan to add some chilli to my next batch) and you have the makings of a pretty fine feast.
I served mine with a herby yogurt relish but almost any salsa (fresh or ready-prepared) will also work well. To make the dish heartier for non-bariatric appetites they can also be served in warm pitta breads with a little salad if liked. They are perfect for the green/eating for life stage of eating after WLS but will also be suitable for the later part of the amber/soft and pureed foods stage too.
So what’s keeping you? Go on … cook up a culinary storm in your kitchen to chase the rainy blues away!
SALMON, LENTIL AND CHICK PEA PATTIES
1 x 416g/14 oz or 2 x 213g/7 oz cans red or pink wild Alaska salmon
400 g/14 oz can green lentils, rinsed and drained
400 g/14 oz can chick peas, rinsed and drained
1 medium courgette/zucchini, grated
4 spring onions/scallions, finely chopped
finely grated zest and juice of 1 lime
1 egg, beaten
salt and freshly ground black pepper
low-fat cooking spray
200 g/7 oz fat-free Greek yogurt
2 tbsp chopped fresh mint
2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander/cilantro
1. Drain the canned salmon, discarding the liquid. Remove any skin and bones if wished. Break half of the fish into chunks and mash the remainder with a fork.
2. Put the lentils and chick peas in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and add the mashed salmon, salmon chunks, grated courgette/zucchini, spring onions/scallions, lime zest and juice, egg and salt and pepper to taste. Shape into 4 large or 8 small patties and chill for 10 minutes.
3. To cook, preheat the grill/broiler. Arrange the patties on a baking sheet and spritz with low-fat cooking spray. Grill/broil for 4-5 minutes on each side.
4. Meanwhile to make the relish, mix the yogurt with the mint and coriander/cilantro and salt and pepper to taste.
5. Serve the patties hot with the relish.
WLS PORTION: 1/2
Image courtesy of Alaska Seafood marketing Institute