Thursday, December 15, 2011

Salmon Meat Balls (mini cakes)

T'is the season to be invited to cocktail parties, Christmas parties and just having the chance to get together with friends.  I love feeding people.  I try to do something new, even though I have a couple of hard core fans who demand I bring the same thing over and over.

Every once in a while, I take a bite of something I've made, and made up, and I'm quite simply delighted.  I have had that very experience this morning.

I've been invited to a cocktail/snack Christmas Caroling Singing gathering.  Sometimes, I think, Christmas demands a higher level of snacking than something bought and brought although really, that is perfectly fine. This time of year is also when a lot of us are watching our budgets so I stood staring into my pantry wondering what I could come up with that was a little bit special, a little bit that would feed many cocktailing carolers and something that was absolutely deliciously wonderful.  I wanted to be the rock star.

I had a can of salmon.  *bingo!*

I'll be honest, my mother is queen of the fishcake but I make a killer meatball so what we have here is the cocktail party big bang moment; enter my new party piece, salmon meatballs.

Before I even bothered getting dressed, here's what went down:

Tracy's Salmon MeatBalls

1 tablespoon butter
1/2 small onion, chopped small
2 slices hearty white bread (I used my homemade single white loaf and cut a piece about 1 1/2 inch thick)
2 green onions
handful of fresh parsley
1 egg
1 can salmon, picked and liquid saved
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
juice 1/2 lemon
salt and pepper
panko bread crumbs
vegetable oil for frying

In a small frypan, sautee the onions in the butter until they are soft but not brown.  Set aside to come to room temperature.  A trick I use is to fry the onions for a few minutes then squirt in a little water and throw a lid on the pan, this will speed up cooking the onions without adding any color to them.  Finish the onions without the lid to allow any excess liquid to steam off.

In a large bowl, crumble the bread, add some of the reserved liquid, about 4 tablespoons of the salmon liquid, add the onions, green onions and parsley,the egg, mayonnaise, lemon juice and combine lightly.  Add the salmon, trying not to completely crush it in the mixture.  I use a fork.  Toss it together and if it's too liquid, add a little of the panko to help bind the mixture.  It should be soft but not too sticky.

Divide the mixture into tiny balls, roll them lightly and put them on a plate.  Cover and put in refrigerator until needed.  We love the do ahead.  You can just roll them in panko and fry them immediately if you want but there's slightly less risk of disintegration if you let them rest a bit.

Roll the balls in panko bread crumbs lightly, fry them on medium heat until they are beautiful, brown and crunchy.  There really isn't anything to cook heavily inside so these go quickly.  Blot them on paper towel or a brown paper bag, go green, and set aside.  Cook them all.

Serve them with this sauce

Tracy's Salmon MeatBall dip/sauce

3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/2 tablespoon sweet relish
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon chili sauce
salt and pepper to taste

Combine, chill, serve up with anything.   This is a ridiculous flavor addition to the salmon meatballs.

Serve the meatballs with the dip/sauce and stand back, you're going to get solid rock star accolades.  These are simply delicious little nuggets.  Let me know how much you love them.

Here are the beauty shots:

In a big bowl, here's the breadcrumbs, add liquid from can, a couple of green onions and parsley, chopped up and an egg.  Fry up the onions to soften but not color.

Gently mix it all up and form into 1 inch balls, salt and pepper it all.  Be light handed, no need to pack these tightly, merely enough to hold them together in a ball.  After they are formed, roll in panko breadcrumbs.

lightly fry the salmon balls in peanut oil or some unflavored oil until they are beautiful.

Serve them with/on a little of the sauce and a parsley leaf if you're feeling chef-y.  Alternatively, put them on a platter with decorative sticks to pick them up and dip them.  I might try them on my mini homemade rolls later as a more substantial snack.

Make these as your new party piece.  There's enormous bang for your buck and one can of salmon ($2.29 at my HEB) made 30 salmon meat balls.  You will be a rockstar.

Merry Christmas!!