Listen, I grew up with a Southern father.
My dad loved pairing fish with grits. I remember my mother and father taking turns frying fish for breakfast and strangely enough, it was typically on an alternate Saturday of the month. As a kid, I knew that fish was pricey.
When it was a good week, my family and I would take the 3 line to Sutter Avenue and go exclusively to this fish market. Who knows if this place is still there but my dad was loyal if he didn't have friends who gave him extra fish that they caught while fishing.
From my parents, I learned at a young age that scales stick to your hair. It took for me to live outside of my home to learn how to be versatile in my cooking because like most folks, they favor what they favor.
Times have changed. Food is drastically on the rise and my childhood nostalgia overwhelms me since my father's passing. When I think of him, I think of my dad making profane jokes as he would heckle my mom as she shaped salmon patties, picking out bones and seasoning them. She would shoot back insults just as fast as he dished them. My dad could cook but I don't think there was a time that he could rival my mom's ability to make food crispy. Texture wise, my mom swears by cast iron for frying and keep your grease hot. Taste wise, my dad would yell from across the room, "...add some more muthafuckin' seasoning in that shit and keep stirring the grits. Nobody likes lumps."
What can I say? I came from a loving home full of potty mouths. In turn, I figured if you can make canned salmon croquettes, you should be able to do this with tuna too. Somehow, this recipe made my nose turning gentlemen of my household a fan. Haven't sold them on grits yet.
2 five ounce cans of tuna (Chunk or Solid White) or canned salmon drained and deboned
2 teaspoons all purpose flour
1/2 small onion, small to fine diced (depends on your preference)
1 teaspoon seasoning salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper (I love coarse texture)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon dill (Fresh dill is awesome sauce)
3/4 cups panko bread crumbs (or regular bread crumbs if you desire)
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
Cooking oil for frying (High smoking point oil is best like vegetable, coconut, peanut, etc. If you use olive oil, avoid extra virgin olive oil as it will burn off fairly quickly)
Drain cans of fish and if using canned salmon, pick out bones (unless you like that sorta thing). Add in all of the ingredients except cooking oil. Shape into patties by scooping a portion into one hand and using the other with a claw shape to form into circles. This helps prevent over shaping. Your patties should be slightly wet, not dry or saturated in liquid.
As my mama recommends, I love using a cast iron skillet for frying but if you must, a sturdy and reliable frying pan is just fine. Fill in enough oil that will allow the patties to be partially submerged in oil. It is not necessary to completely cover, as it will be flipped over. Just enough to cover the bottom of the pan. Once grease is hot, place your croquettes into the pan on medium/high fire, approximately 2 - 3 minutes per side. Pull from grease and set them on a place layered with paper towels to soak up excess oil. Pair it with a good remoulade sauce and eat it with some grits. For a lighter pairing, try pairing with a salad. You can't go wrong with these. Mangia!
Latoya Shauntay Snell
Thanks to friends and loved ones, I managed to financially foot part of the bill for some fancy classically French training school called Star Career Academy of NY before the school ran off and stole everyone's money. At least the instructors were real deal and I graduated before they closed.
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