While I am a fan of crab cakes, my child doesn't tend to be a fan. As a compromise, I've found ways to get the fun texture that can be found in a good seafood cake and use tuna instead of crab - though I've been known to just opt for crab when the opportunity arises. I used to think of that as a lesser option, but given the fantastic flavor and versatility of these tuna cakes along with the relatively low cost of even good canned tuna compared to crab, I think I might have converted myself! Hooray for a fun dish that can be cheered by everyone around the table.
I like using tuna in oil and draining it very well for this recipe. I find the texture and flavor to be superior and, if you save the oil you drain off, you can incorporate it into sauces and salad dressings for more flavor there too! If you cannot find panko breadcrumbs, you can use more plain breadcrumbs, but you might wish to incorporate a little oil (a scant teaspoon of the reserved tuna oil will be perfect) and/or cheese to help add texture when frying.
My favorite way to enjoy these is over a fresh salad and drizzled with a salad dressing that uses lemon juice and mustard in it. I've also made an eggs benedict where you lose the Canadian bacon and use a tuna cake in its place. And, of course, you can always plate them on their own and make a fun remoulade for spooning over them.
- 10 oz. tuna in oil (two 5 oz. cans), well drained (reserve the oil for making salad dressings and sauces)
- 3 garlic cloves, finely minced
- ¼ cup finely minced onion
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1 large egg
- ¼ cup plain breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 6 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Combine the drained tuna with the garlic, onion, salt and pepper, lemon juice and zest, egg, plain breadcrumbs, mayo, grated Parmesan cheese, and dried parsley. Mix well.
Place the panko breadcrumbs in a shallow dish. Scoop ¼ cup of the tuna mixture (a 2 oz. ice cream scoop works very well for this), form it into a patty, and lightly coat it with the panko breading mixture.
Fry the tuna cake in a large sauté pan with the olive oil heated over medium-high heat, until it is nicely browned on each side. Remove from the pan and let rest for 5 minutes before serving. You can fry 4-5 tuna cakes at a time in the pan.
- Yields: 3 servings
- Preparation Time: 30 minutes