Wild Salmon and Veggie Fish Cakes
Growing up in our house, Fridays in Lent meant fish cakes for dinner. As we know, Christians refrain from meat on Fridays during Lent and I learned just recently that some follow this practice throughout the year. Interestingly, I never knew the reason and thought it had something to do with a fast. I learn that fish on Friday is an ancient Jewish custom (because God had created fish on the fifth day), Jesus and his disciples ate a huge amount of fish, and the fish symbol or “Jesus fish” is one of the earliest Christian symbols.
As a kid I always had my mom to remind me of the “no meat on Friday rule”, and as an adult I reminded my own children. Although these days, my children are reminding me, “Did you forget its Friday, did you have meat today?” Whoops, wow have things changed! Well it’s a few weeks in, and I am finally remembering…
Today is Friday and last night, my daughter Aly, was frying up potato latkes and the smell that filled the house reminded me of my mom making those round little crunchy fish cakes in her electric frying pan. She would have to pull the long, greasy chain on the exhaust fan over the stove, to allow the smoke to go outside. Watching her fry with the plate of paper towels nearby to let the deep brown cakes rest, and catch the extra oil, for some reason warms my heart. She is gone a year this upcoming week and it feels like it was yesterday that I was sitting on that fold up kitchen stool watching her cook, and smelling that incredible smell.
I loved those deep fried crispy fish cakes, even though I would never eat any other fish as a kid other than fish sticks. Now I know they must have been filled with bread crumbs, and potatoes. After they were fried, how could anyone resist?
So today I am making my own healthy version of fish cakes for dinner; wild salmon, veggies, spices, very little whole wheat breadcrumb, and baked not fried. I’ll call them my anti- inflammatory fish cakes. You see, salmon is one of the best sources of omega-3 fat, and it’s common for a 4 ounce portion to contain at least 2 grams, which is more than an average adult gets from all food over several days. About half of this omega-3 fat is provided in the form of EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and a slightly lower amount is provided in the form of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). The amounts of EPA and DHA contained in salmon are unusual among commonly-eaten foods. What is so incredible about this powerhouse is how anti-inflammatory it is. This fish, because of its omega-3 fat and other vitamin content, along with mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, and albacore tuna have been shown in studies to decrease inflammatory markers, lower triglycerides, and decrease the growth rate of plaque in the arteries. The American Heart Association suggests we eat these types of fatty fish twice a week.
My mom had Alzheimer’s for 5 years before she passed, and it was incredibly hard watching her deteriorate. I make sure to eat protective anti-inflammatory foods, and this fish a couple times a week as I know it is key in fighting inflammation. Oxidative and inflammatory processes are common underlying mechanisms of virtually all chronic illnesses. Dietary intake can modulate the expression of these processes and inhibit diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease. I guess I needed Lent to remind me of how much I like salmon and why I eat it! So make sure you make room for fish on Friday’s, as well as a couple other days in your week!
Meatless Mondays Move Over and….Make room for Fish Friday’s
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