Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Salmon Cakes with Sriracha Mayo and Ratatouille

I've started and stopped writing this post several times over the past couple of weeks, never quite sure how to start or what to say. I want to write something peppy and merry about Fall or perhaps talk about all the great and wonderful activities we did over the summer but the truth is, we've suffered a tragedy and it's cast a pall over the Hoverter household. Ben, Teo and I are fine.  Well, mostly fine.  Teo is amazing, a vibrant soul with unimaginable energy.  It's his parents that are feeling a touch beat up.  Recovery has been slow, measured in inches rather than miles, but I know it's going to be OK because I'm cooking again.  Actually, saying I'm cooking again feels like an understatement: I'm spending hours and hours in the kitchen, taking copious amounts of time preparing our meals.  We have soups and stews and casseroles and fresh stir fries and salad and bread.  When I'm feeling particularly anxious or stressed I bake cookies or brownies or muffins. We are eating so well.

This brings me to salmon cakes. These salmon cakes won't take you hours to cook.  They take minutes!  I got the recipe from The Kitchn so I will send you there for guidance on their actual preparation.  The only thing I would change after making the salmon cakes twice is that I like using two eggs instead of one. I feel like the cakes hold together better.  And the Sriracha mayo is a must.  If you don't have Sriracha, try mixing smoked paprika or another hot sauce with mayo.  The creamy spice finishes the dish and even Ben, who doesn't care for mayo, loved the dressing.

So, what did I serve with these delicious cakes? What is that indistinct brown blob in the back of the photo? Why, ratatouille of course. I've made Grilled Ratatouille in the past and honestly, that's the only time I've managed to take a decent picture of it.  Whenever I make it in the oven, which is my preferred method, it's a giant brown heap, albeit a delicious giant brown heap. I cribbed off of Mark Bittman's recipe from How to Cook Everything, though ratatouille is so simple, you can probably make it without even reading my barebones recipe.

I used Japanese eggplant because you don't need to peel and salt it.  You can really add any baking veggies you want, including yellow summer squash and bell peppers, but I used what I had in my fridge. If you choose to use large tomatoes, peel and seed them before adding them to the baking dish.

Oven Baked Ratatouille

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Roughly chop two medium zucchini, 4 Japanese eggplant, and one onion. Line a baking sheet or pan with parchment paper and scatter on the vegetables. Toss in two handfuls of cherry tomatoes, stems removed. Peel 4-5 cloves of garlic and add them to the vegetables. Drizzle on a generous amount of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and add a few whole oregano leaves or a pinch of dried oregano. Toss the vegetables gently with the oil and then roast for about an hour, stirring about every 15 minutes. The vegetables should be tender and falling apart when the dish is finished. Garnish with fresh basil and serve at room temperature or slightly warm.


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