One part of your challenge to increase your omega-3s this week is to eat more fish, especially salmon. A lot of people have an aversion to preparing fish in their homes, and for good reason I think. It’s easy to mess it up, and tough, soggy, or dry fish are all pretty gross. You never want to waste money on good food just because you’re not quite sure how to prepare it.
My confession: I’ve never bought any salmon other than canned salmon. It’s just too pricey and I’m not sure what to do with it. This meal was my mother’s standby for a Friday night when my dad (old-school Catholic) was not eating meat and my mom (non-Catholic) had to roll with it.
Salmon is super high in omega-3 fats (click here for health benefits), low in saturated fat, and at $1.99/can before even being on sale, canned is a really a frugal source of protein. Unlike other canned foods, fish holds almost all of its nutrients when cooked and canned. The entire entree can be served for $2.25, tops, especially if you reclaim bread heels to make bread crumbs. I typically serve salmon patties with:
- cream of potato soup (under $1 for a great big pot, using leftover veggies from the freezer)
- homemade biscuits (even with organic, whole wheat pastry flour and organic, extra virgin coconut oil or high quality butter plus homemade yogurt (or milk), a batch of these biscuits is still under a buck for a dozen of them)
… rounding out the meal total to $4.25 for 6 people, with cents to spare for a quick salad and honey on the biscuits.
The first time I made these, I called my mother for the recipe and made a triple batch for a group of 15 women (and their kids) at a pregnancy resource meeting. I didn’t know what to expect when opening the can of salmon, and I spent 15 minutes per can trying to pick every bone out! I was worried I would kill someone if they choked on a bone or something. I told all the ladies that they probably shouldn’t try this one at home, too time-consuming and annoying. Then I found out that you do not need to get out every little rib bone – they are soft enough to eat and actually recommended. Sheesh.
Here’s what canned salmon looks like out of the can:
The Salmon Patties really only take about 5 minutes to mix up and 5 more to fry up. Quick and easy!
- ~1 lb canned salmon (make sure it’s wild Alaskan salmon)
- 1 Tbs. chopped onion
- 1/2 tsp salt (adjust as needed)
- 1 well-beaten egg
- cayenne pepper to taste
- 1 Tbs. chopped parsley (dried is fine)
- 1/4 cup crushed crackers (homemade if you want to control the ingredients) or bread crumbs (dry oatmeal works too for GF or almond flour for grain-free)
- Remove skin & backbones of salmon.
- Flake fish.
- Add seasonings, crushed crackers/bread crumbs/etc., onion, egg & parsley.
- Mix well.
- Shape into 2″ patties.
- Saute in hot butter, ghee, coconut oil, tallow, lard or (not-so-hot) olive oil in skillet till golden brown on both sides (usually about 2-3 minutes per side).
Added Bonus: Leaving some bones in adds calcium and minerals! Gross, but healthy… (My Mom says that finding a little circle of the back bone within a salmon patty was like finding a treasure when she was young. It was soft and just part of the patty. So why did she remove all of the bones when I was a child?)
Time Saver: It’s easy to get a small amount of onions if you already have them in the freezer (or even used dried).
Cost: $3.00 or less (using Meijer brand pink Alaskan salmon 14.5 oz, reg price)
Super Foods: 2 (3 if you use olive oil) and 1 honorable mention (2 with whole grain bread crumbs)
From a helpful comment on this recipe under the recipes tab: Another way to sneak veggies into salmon patties is to mix in finely chopped carrots &/or red pepper. I chop up the onion, carrot and red pepper (two more super foods!) pretty fine, then heat w/ olive oil just long enough to get the kitchen smelling awesome (I add the red pepper last so it doesn’t lose much flavor). Then let that stuff cool enough to not cook the egg and finish the patties. Yum.
This is a pretty basic recipe that’s probably even right on the salmon can. But you have to have the courage to go buy some if you never have before. I’ll take the hit of the 15-minute bone-picking expedition for you just so you can feel comfortable buying, preparing and eating salmon! You can do it! Eat more fish! Be sure to check in on Friday for how to buy safe salmon...
UPDATE: I made these patties the night of the post so I’d have pictures to add, but I used a food processor for the first time to make them after a commenter recommended it. They tasted fine, but they were so ugly I’m embarrassed to use the photos! If you want the flaked look and mouthfeel, stay away from the food processor. My son did say at dinner – twice – “Can I have some more of the green stuff?” Color = ewwww, taste = great.
Find more great recipes at $5 Dinners, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday at Blessed With Grace, Tasty Tuesday at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam, Tightwad Tuesday at Raising 4 Godly Men, and Tuesdays at the Table at My Chihuahua Bites. The Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap has even more great, frugal recipes!
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