RotW: Meatloaf, Now With Salmon Kungfu Action
I know. Does not quite sound that appealing, but if you like salmon and, alas, you can’t afford it, this is right up your alley. Meat Loaf is awesome. The dinner entree as well. One of my favorite childhood foods was meatloaf, and as a child, I hated any fish that was not breaded and in stick form. Now I am (supposedly) an adult, so my tastes are just slightly more sophisticated. I love salmon. Unfortunately, it’s out of our price range, even on sale.
I made this the other night. I only made it once before several years ago, so I was kind of worried I’d somehow screw it up (as I tend to in 90% of my culinary adventures).
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1/2 red bell pepper, finely dice
- 12 ounces salmon (we all assumed canned and were correct)
- 4 teaspoons chives, Snipped
- 4 teaspoons parsley, Freshly chopped
- black pepper, Freshly ground
- 2 egg whites, stiffly beaten
- 1/2 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs (fresh)
- Heat oil in pan and cook onion and peppers 2-3mins till onion softens.
- Combine salmon, breadcrumbs, chives, parsley and onion mixture in a bowl.
- Season lightly with pepper.
- Fold egg whites in lightly.
- Spoon into lightly greased and lined loaf tin.
- Bake 350F 45 mins or till firm.
- Stand 10 mins before turning out. Cut into slices to serve.
It says it serves 4. Nah. Mario and I demolished the thing with just a bit left over. So I say it serves 2, maybe 3. I just had the leftovers tonight and it tastes so much better!
Well, that’s the recipe as is. Here’s what I did:
What I did was add some garlic powder to the mixture, as looking at the recipe made it seem a bit bland. I know salmon is quite flavorful on its own, but it’s also an excellent canvas for flavor, so take advantage! It was still a bit bland, so next time I’d use fresh and/or roasted garlic. perhaps 3-4 cloves, as I love me my garlic (and if you roast it, it mellows so you can use more without being overpowering). Garlic is sooooo good for you too. Bonus.
As for fresh herbs, sorry purists, but it is cheaper to buy dried herbs. I didn’t have chives, so instead I used italian seasoning, as I felt a bite of basil would be a great compliment. No specific measurement for adding herbage, so I just go by sight, by feel, and by scent.
For more flavor oomph, in the future I’d love to add cayenne pepper or even chopped hot peppers (like jalepeno, chipotles, or even habaneros), but, ugh, Mario’s a bit of a heat wimp, so I’d have to stick with paprika or chipotles to keep the heat a bit mellowed, but still flavorful. If it were just ME (and Princess Daisy too), I’d have chopped up hot peppers replacing ALL of the red pepper!! Mmmm. Hurts so good.
Breadcrumbs. We don’t have a toaster (and even if we did, we’d have no room for it anyway), so I toasted 3 slices of wonderbread-sized bread in the oven. It made slightly more than 1/2 cup breadcrumbs. Only use 1/2 cup or else you will have a dry loaf on your hands. And no one likes a dry loaf. Giggidy.
As for the eggs, you could try to not bother beating it, but in this recipe the beaten egg whites are used for adhesion, height, and a lighter, airier texture to balance the heavy fish. Normally a whole egg is used in loafs for just adhesion, but here the egg whites are more functional than that here. You’re practically making a meringue with the egg whites. You have to get it slightly beyond a cool whip texture. A hand mixer would be best, but since we are poor bastards, we only have a whisk, so it took a shitload of elbow grease and patience to get it there. What didn’t help was getting a smidge of egg yolk into it while separating the eggs and using a plastic bowl. Fat fizzles a whip and plastic holds onto fat even from previous uses and washes. So we had to put far more effort into whipping it up than normal.
I say, if you have a hand mixer, just beat the egg whites. If not, just dump the egg whites in there straight from the shell. It won’t be as fluffy (supposed to be almost like a light quiche), so it’ll be denser and a bit shorter, but whatev. Better than a sore arm.
However, I suggest waiting until the red pepper-onion-salmon mixture cools, or else you will end up with scrambled eggs with salmon and not a loaf. You could have it like that, but if you wanted a loaf, you just failed.
OOH! And it tastes soooooo much better the NEXT day (cold or reheated, but especially reheated). I recommend making this the day before you serve it for maximum nummy-ness.
$$$ Tips: I got a 14.5 oz can of salmon for $2.30 at Aldi in the US. It’s the Bumblebee Tuna brand. You do, however, have to take the skin off and some bone. That will bring it down to the 12 oz. It’s a disgusting job, but other cans of salmon for the same amount cost anywhere between 5 to 7 bucks a pop. Screw that. I let Mario do the dirty work there, as I was gagging. But soooo worth the savings, and the salmon tasted decent. A bit fishier, but decent. (And with a fishier fish, that’s why I highly recommend upping the flavorings like garlic and herbs)
For the red peppers, they have 14.5 oz jars of roasted red peppers at Dollar Tree for a buck a piece. I only used half the jar. Don’t know if your neighboring location would have it, but doesn’t hurt to check. You can always find decent stuff there if you look.
Also at Dollar Tree, they have a jar of red jalepenos. Don’t knock ’em just because they’re not ripe. They have the heat, but because they are red, they’ve got some sweet too. Just in case you wanted to spice yours up a bit more.
I’m sure you could use any canned meat: tuna, chicken, spam. Perhaps even fresh ground red meat. That would be nummy too.
I would do anything for salmon. But I won’t do that. What ‘that’ is, I do not know. Sure as hell ain’t the same as a Klondike Bar.