21: Tilapia Cakes
Sometimes I take to heart the health suggestions that include “eat more fish.” Fish is expensive, though, and I may be in the minority, but I hate spending more than $5 a pound on much of anything. Sometimes I remind myself that it’s okay to spend more on something that’s healthy, or tastes especially good, or if it’s for a special occasion… but it still doesn’t take the sting away.
I also didn’t grow up eating much fish or shellfish. I prefer my fish to be not too fishy (eck, cod). I don’t want my fish to be swimming in anything; I don’t like the things that usually go with fish (butter, tons of sauce, tartar sauce). I generally only like shrimp if they’re fried, or if they’ve got a nice grilled flavor.
I was iffy the first time I tried crab cakes. They generally have things in it I don’t like (mayonnaise, mustard, other random condiments), but they are fried. And it was probably at my husband’s family’s house, so I’m going to try something at least once. They were surprisingly not bad, given my squeamishness in trying things that I know have ingredients I don’t like.
I’ve since made salmon cakes a few times, and I’ve probably made fake crab cakes a few times too. I’d always make adjustments to the recipe, though, so I didn’t have an old one handy. I found a recipe, and decided to try tilapia instead of crab. I haven’t actually had crab that often (the first time I did was a fresh crab in Japan, and I honestly wasn’t impressed), so I thought it probably wouldn’t be a bad difference.
I always use yogurt instead of mayonnaise, since I actually like yogurt. I only ever have panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) in the house because I don’t use regular breadcrumbs for anything, and I cut the breadcrumb about to 3/4 cup. I also used seasoned salt for the Old Bay seasoning since it’s something else I just didn’t have. And, I omitted the egg white because I didn’t want an extra egg yolk sitting around and simply didn’t find it all that necessary.
I liked that this recipe called for browning the sides of the cakes in a skillet and then transferring them to the oven. I prefer finishing something in the oven because it means that I can clean up right before we eat, instead of standing over the stove. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize until after I started that my ovenproof skillet wasn’t large enough. I, in usual fashion, squeezed all of the tilapia cakes in, but I didn’t leave myself enough room to get a spatula in to flip them. I also wasn’t convinced that they were browning fast enough. So I turned off the heat, sprayed the top coat of crumbs with cooking spray, and put them in the oven, convinced that the tops would brown that way.
I enjoyed these. Although it’s not a strong fish, I get tired of tilapia (it being one of the cheapest fish I usually find), and this was another good way for me to cook it.