This is a recipe that I’ve been making for many years. It is so tasty, so quick and easy, so ridiculously healthful, that sometimes I find myself making it again and again, day after day, forsaking all other recipes. Seriously. These are little cakes of goodness. And, given that every single ingredient is highly nutritious, not one trace of guilt accompanies the meal. (The photo is rather misleading, since it is scientifically impossible to eat only one.)
I have no idea where I found the original recipe, from which I adapted this one. Long ago, I scrawled it on an index card. As time went by, I penciled in changes here and there, added this and that, until the card now appears etched with odd culinary hieroglyphics, decipherable only to myself within the dog-eared four corners. It is everything that I love in a recipe. Delicious. Check. Quick and easy. Check, check. Ridiculously healthful (as already mentioned). Check. Reheats wonderfully the next day. Check. And (a preference that I’ve discussed in many previous posts), the ingredients are inexpensive, even humble, so the recipe can be made on a tight budget, student or otherwise. Check and double check, with a little gold star shining brightly. The recent talk of healthful food being expensive is a whole lot of nonsense.
Salmon Couscous Cakes with Garlic Yogurt
3/4 cup plain yogurt
3 fat cloves garlic, crushed
2/3 cup orange juice
1/2 cup whole wheat couscous
1/2 red bell pepper, finely diced
14 oz can salmon, drained
10 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed, squeezed free of excess liquid
1 tsp ground cumin
2 eggs, slightly beaten to blend
2 T oil
Mix the yogurt with 1 clove of the crushed garlic. Season with salt and pepper and refrigerate. (Make this ahead of time, if you can, so that the flavors blend.) In a little saucepan bring the orange juice to a boil. Stir in the couscous, cover, and remove from the heat. Allow it to stand until the liquid has been absorbed, about 10 minutes. Fluff and separate the grains with a fork.
Microwave the diced bell pepper for 1 minute or so, to soften. (You could also saute it briefly.) In a large bowl, with a fork, separate and lightly mash the salmon into medium and small chunks. (You can remove the bones and skin, if you wish, but there is no need. They are unnoticeable in the cakes, and provide good nutrition.) Fold in the spinach, red pepper, cumin, and remaining 2 cloves of crushed garlic, along with a 1/2 tsp of each salt and pepper. Gently fold in the couscous, and then stir in the eggs.
With your hands form the mixture into 10 round cakes, each no more than 1/2″ thick. Heat the oil in a wide saute pan over medium heat. Place 5 of the cakes in the pan and let cook until the undersides are golden brown, about 7 minutes. Very carefully, turn the cakes over with a wide spatula. (The couscous on the uncooked side will still be quite loose.) Cook until the second side is golden, about 5 minutes. Remove to a plate, add a little more oil to the pan, if needed, and cook the remaining 5 cakes in the same way. Serve either hot or at room temperature, with the garlic yogurt spooned over top. The cakes also taste wonderful the next day.