Make the most of brunch with healthful salmon
Brunch should be a delicious mid-morning gathering of friends and flavors. If you’re preparing this sociable meal yourself, serving fish will help you keep it tasty and healthy.
Unless you catch your own, fish can seem a little pricey, but patties or croquettes stretch salmon without being obvious. Our patties are breaded with panko (Japanese bread crumbs), but cornmeal is another good choice. Accent the fish with a splash of Worcestershire sauce.
We’ll be serving eggs, but on the small side. Very small and quite beautiful: quail eggs. If you prefer to keep your egg consumption to a minimum, you’ll be pleased that these will top the salmon patties almost as garnish.
For a fruity counterpoint, try homemade pear chutney. Our recipe is an adaptation of one by James Peterson in his “Fish & Shellfish.” For vivid scarlet color and a little piquant heat, we bought raspberry salsa, composed of tomatoes, raspberries and jalapeno peppers.
To finish the plate, we’re serving roasted green beans, garnished with grana padano. This is a cow’s milk cheese that is similar to Parmigiano-Reggiano, but less intense and less crumbly. Like other granas, this one can be grated, but we used a vegetable peeler to shave flakes and slivers onto the beans.
If quail eggs aren’t available, use familiar hen egg. Fry them sunny side up, poach them as toppers, or create a fluffy scramble.
• 1 can (14.75 ounces) red Coho salmon
• 1/4 cup finely diced celery
• 1/4 cup bread crumbs, plus more for breading
• Zest of 1 lemon
• 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
• Salt and pepper to taste
• 2 tablespoons canola oil, plus more as needed
• Quail eggs
In a large bowl, combine salmon, celery, onion and eggs. Stir in 1/4 cup bread crumbs, lemon zest, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Form patties that are between 2 1/2 and 3 inches in diameter and about ¾-inch thick. Place additional bread crumbs in a shallow dish.
Bring a skillet to medium high heat; add oil.
While oil heats, bread the newly formed patty, making sure the panko coats both sides. Pan-fry each patty immediately so the coating won’t have time to get soggy.
Cook for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, turning very carefully to keep patties whole. Remove and drain on paper towels.
Fry quail eggs and use them, sunny side up, to garnish each salmon patty
Makes about 6 patties.
Make this tasty chutney the day before your brunch and let the flavors meditate in the fridge.
• 2 large, hard pears, peeled, cored and cut into 1/4-inch dice
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
• 2 tablespoons sugar
• 1/2 cup good quality white wine vinegar
• 2 tablespoons raisins
• 1 cup dry vermouth
• 1/4 cup pomegranate juice
• 1 tablespoon lemon juice
In a medium-large saucepan, combine diced pears, cinnamon, turmeric, sugar, vinegar and raisins. Boil down the mixture, stirring occasionally, until very little liquid is left.
Add vermouth and continue cooking. Pear pieces should retain their shape but be soft. When the vermouth is nearly cooked away, reduce the heat and add the pomegranate juice and lemon juice. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, then remove the chutney from the heat and let it cool.
The chutney can be used immediately or stored, covered, in the refrigerator. This is not a preserve, so enjoy it during the next few days.
Makes about 2 cups.