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Salmon Cakes
Use Greek yogurt for a lighter tartar sauce./ Renee Comet/ USA WEEKEND. Food Styling/ Lisa Cherkasky.

A key strategy for eating well — even when life is at its most hectic — is to have a pantry stocked with healthy foods that can be pulled together quickly and tastily. One of my go-to cupboard staples is canned or pouched salmon. It has all the same protein, minerals and protective omega-3 fats as fresh salmon at a fraction of the price. Flake it into pasta dishes, add it to green salads or combine it with mayo and lemon juice to use just as you would tuna in a sandwich.

You also can take the humble staple to another level entirely by making these crispy-outside, tender-inside salmon cakes. They are reminiscent of the salmon croquettes my grandmother used to make, but these have a delightful Asian twist, seasoned with scallions and cilantro and given a subtle crunch with water chestnuts. What’s more, they are made with whole-wheat bread, so each portion is also a serving of whole grains. The Ginger-Sesame Sauce is a creamy kind of tartar sauce made lighter with non-fat Greek yogurt and spiked with distinctive Asian flavors.

Salmon Cakes with Ginger-Sesame Sauce

• 6 slices whole-wheat sandwich bread
• Two 15-ounce cans salmon, drained and picked over for skin and bones
• 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
• 5 scallions (white and green parts)
• ½ cup canned water chestnuts, drained and finely chopped
• ¼ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
• ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
• 3 tsps. olive oil

Remove the crusts from the bread, tear into pieces and process in a food processor until you get fine bread crumbs. In a large bowl, flake apart the salmon with a fork. Add the eggs and mix well. Finely chop 4 of the scallions and add to the bowl. Add the water chestnuts, cilantro, pepper and the bread crumbs and mix well. Shape the mixture into 12 patties.

In a large non-stick skillet, heat 1½ tsps. of the oil over medium heat. Add 6 patties and cook for 5 minutes on each side. Transfer the cooked patties to a plate and cover with aluminum foil. Add the remaining 1½ tsps. oil to the pan and cook the rest of the cakes.Serve the cakes with the sauce on the side, garnished with scallion.

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Yield: 6 servings

Per serving (2 salmon cakes and 1½ Tbs. sauce): 395 calories, 18g carbohydrates, 35g protein, 20g fat (4g saturated), 135mg cholesterol, 3g fiber, 1,010mg sodium

Ginger-Sesame Sauce

• ½ cup plain non-fat yogurt or 6 Tbs. plain Greek-style non-fat yogurt
• 2 Tbs. mayonnaise
• 1½ Tbs. peeled and grated fresh ginger
• 1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
• 1 tsp. low-sodium soy sauce

If using regular yogurt, place the yogurt in a strainer lined with a paper towel. Set the strainer over a bowl and let drain and thicken for 30 minutes. Place the drained or Greek-style yogurt in a small bowl. Add the mayonnaise, ginger, sesame oil and soy sauce and whisk until smooth.

Yield: 7 servings

Per serving (1½ Tbs.): 50 calories, 2g carbohydrates, 2g protein, 4.5g fat (.5g saturated), 2mg cholesterol, 0g fiber, 71mg sodium

Recipe reprinted by permission of the publisher, The Taunton Press Inc., from The Food You Crave: Luscious Recipes for a Healthy Life,by Ellie Krieger. Copyright by Ellie Krieger.

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