Fish Cakes with Lemon Yogurt Sauce


Fish cakes are a quick and easy way to eat tinned fish. Serve them like you would crab cakes: as an appetizer or atop a large salad for a main course. Or form them into balls and serve them wrapped inside lettuce leaves, skewered with cherry tomatoes and cucumber chunks, or as finger food.  Crunchy outside and soft inside, kids will love them and have fun dipping them into the yogurt sauce.

I buy tinned fish with the bones (they are a great source of calcium) and zip them up in my food processor in no time. Here I season them with fresh cilantro, ginger, lemon zest and red onion, but you could just as easily substitute your favorite flavors or whatever you happen to have on hand: parsley, basil, thyme, oregano, chili pepper, scallion, shallot, garlic or lime zest. If you don't have fresh herbs, use ground dried herbs. If your citrus isn't organic, omit the zest.

Fish cakes can be prepared in advance, which can make dinner a breeze on busy nights. You will have just enough time to steam some spinach or make a salad while they cook.

Fish cakes:
1 organic lemon
7 oz tinned sardines with bones, drained
1/2 cup roughly chopped red onion
1/2 cup tightly packed fresh cilantro
1 tsp fresh grated ginger, or to taste
1 egg
1/4 cup stone ground garbanzo bean flour
Sea salt
Ground peppercorn
Extra virgin olive oil, first cold pressing

 Lemon Yogurt Sauce:
1/3 cup organic plain whole milk Greek or strained yogurt
1 tbsp Dijon mustard (optional)
Fresh lemon zest and juice
Ground peppercorn to taste

Zest half of the lemon into a food processor. Add the sardines, onion, cilantro and ginger. Process until finely chopped. Add the egg, chick pea flour, and a pinch each of sea salt and ground peppercorn.  Process again until thoroughly mixed. Form the mixture into cakes (or balls).

Zest the rest of the lemon into a small bowl. Add the yogurt, mustard and peppercorn. Stir until smooth. Set aside.

Warm the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Once hot, sauté the cakes until golden brown on both sides. Transfer to a serving plate.

Cut the zested lemon into slices. Squeeze one or two over the fish cakes and serve immediately, with the rest of the lemon slices and the yogurt sauce on the side.

Yield: 3 medium cakes or 10 balls