Thursday, August 19, 2010

Salmon Wars!

Well, there comes a time in every marriage when you have to break out of the old rut and try something new. And for Mary and I that something new was me taking her on in a cooking challenge.

Now, for those of you that know Mary, you know that she is a fabulous cook. Me, not so much. But after we got into a heated discussion about, of all things, salmon patties, it was time for me to take her to the proverbial woodshed.

Mary is an elitist when it comes to food, I think. She believes in using high quality, fresh, and simple ingredients and frowns at preservatives and chemically enhanced foods. Well, at some point recently I mentioned that I was in the mood for a salmon patty, and she crinkled her nose.

"What is that about?" I asked.

"Disgusting," she said.

"How can that be, it's just salmon, eggs and crackers. It's fried."

"Salmon from a can?"


"Like I said, disgusting."

Somehow this led to us talking about the virtues of canned salmon and the even better virtues of fresh salmon from the meat counter. I don't know what my point was but it ended up in an old fashioned salmon throwdown this past Tuesday night. It would be my old-fashioned family recipe salmon patties versus Mary's fancy Martha Stewart recipe salmon burgers. I was trying to make a point.

So I went to the store and bought this:

It cost around $5.

Mary, on the other hand, bought this:

Which cost this:

So, if nothing else, my recipe would be cheaper.

I have to say, I did have a couple of secret weapons. One was that I had called my mom and got the low down on how to make these salmon patties, a favorite from my youth. It was pretty easy, she told me, just do this and this and this and this. I was pretty sure I would screw it up. My mom said that was impossible. All Mary had was Martha Stewart, who wouldn't answer her phone calls.
My other secret weapon was this:

This is the pan I have been making popcorn in for the last two years. I've poured so much oil in it that it practically fries your patty for you.

Oh, and one more secret weapon:

My mom always served salmon patties with mac and cheese and creamed peas. I skipped the peas because I never really liked them and I'm an adult and I don't have to eat them and I will have a cookie and spoil my dinner if I want thankyouverymuch.

Mary had some secret weapons of her own:

Those would be a tartar sauce (yucky) that she made and also some pickled onions (double yucky) that she also made. If she hadn't purchased some Ore Ida french fries I would accuse her of showing off.

Once I got home from work the battle began. Mary cubed her salmon and blended it in the food processor (sorry, no pictures). The she delicately formed her burgers, after first consulting ME to get an estimate of "how long is three inches." Insert your own penis humor here, please.

I have to admit, they looked pretty good when it was all said and done:

The burgers weren't just salmon, they had some lime zest and juice in them, too. Like I said, fancy.
I forgot to take pics of me making my salmon (plus my hands were pretty messy) but I basically opened the can, took out the bones (Mary: "Gross!"), added two eggs and some cracker crumbs, then blended it up until it was "sticky." Then I masturfully formed some patties and popped them into the secret weapon with a little vegetable oil. Don't they have a perfect golden brown color?

Mary started hers as well. They didn't look nearly as tasty as mine.

And here is a side-by-side action shot of me kicking her ass:

While they were frying, we prepped our plating area. These are Mary's buns (pun intended):

And here is my beautiful plate with some lettuce stuff that Mary told me would make everything look beautiful.

Mary was nothing but helpful whereas I talked trash the whole time and tried to make her forget that her buns were in the broiler (which didn't work). I think I had more at stake than she did, like, my family pride.
When the patties/burgers were done, we plated them up. I added some more green vegetable leafy stuff that I chopped up to give my plate even more pizazz, and of course added the mac and cheese. This is probably what heaven looks like when you sit down for your first meal:
Mary plated hers as well. It looked okay, I mean, for a bunch of sandwiches.

Then we presented the plates to our esteemed judges (yep, we had judges, wouldn't be a salmon war without judges).
This is Don Loukota. His qualifications for being a salmon war judge are that he is our friend and he likes food. You can't tell from the picture but he also has a great ass (his words, not mine) that he could not stop talking about all night.

Our other esteemed judge was Elizabeth Drury. Her qualifications for being a salmon war judge are that she is our friend and she likes wine. She didn't not mention having a fine ass at the judge's table, and was a very cordial guest indeed.

Here are the judges saying something intellegent about salmon:

When all was said and done, they announced the winner, because of it's "complex flavors":

Pickled onions are complex flavors? Bleeeeecch!
Oh, well, at least I got Second Place--downgraded for "dryness and salmony tasting"! What did they expect. It's called a salmon patty, for cry pee sake!
I won the award for best side dish, though.
So there you have it. Mary 1, Chris 0.
I did have a salmon patty for lunch today.
The End


Nat Topping said...

For the record, I used to have the same salmon patties in my youth (made with 100% Saltine crackers!) and they were one of my favorite meals.

Jill said...

For some reason the thought of grinding salmon up in my food processor doesn't sound appetizing to me. Also, Chris, Food Network chef Melissa D'Arabbian has a recipe for salmon cakes in which she uses canned salmon. So there's that...