Mountain chef: Fish cakes |

Mountain chef: Fish cakes

Ian T. Buchanan
special to the daily


Well it’s a new year and many people around this time of the year choose to take on the responsibility of a New Year’s resolution. One of the most popular of all is the resolution to eat better, exercise and take better care of their health. And with the lack of snow it has been a difficult season to find the motivation for the outdoor exercise. But no worries … this week’s column will offer us a dish that is very health conscience, easy to make ahead of time for convenient, tasty food on the go.

We eat fish grilled, sauteed, poached, baked etc … so let’s try a different method … fish cakes. Really any fish can be used, here I chose wild-caught sockeye salmon. It is a great price and it gives us impressive nutrition to boot . But you can use other fish such as halibut, cod, talapia, etc … I have paired it with one of my favorite greens … kale.

Kale is a type of cabbage that is very high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C and has some calcium too. Kale, as with broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts and collard greens contains sulforaphane, a chemical with potent anti-cancer properties but boiling can lower this level. Sauteing or steaming are the best cooking options. Another bonus is that kale is also a source of indole-3-carbinol which is a chemical that boosts DNA repair in cells and has been shown to block the growth of cancer cells.

The avocados in the puree for this dish are known for containing monounsaturated fats, which are the good ones that help lower your cholesterol. As well as tons of fiber, more potassium than a banana and loaded with vitamins B, E and K. They are also under research for anti-cancer activity as well. So stay true to your resolution and eat to your health!

Ian T. Buchanan is the chef/owner of Open To The World Private Chef Services and lead instructor at CMC Breckenridge’s Center For Lifelong Learning Culinary Program. View Ian’s website at, contact him at (440) 376-0096 or swing by and sign up for a culinary class at CMC Breckenridge.

1 pound fish, 1/2 inch dice

Recommended Stories For You

1 stalk celery, finely diced

1 small carrot, finely diced

1 small onion, finely diced

1/2 jalapeno, finely diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 lemon, juiced

1/4 cup parsley, minced

2 cups fresh bread crumbs (chop bread in food processor)

2 eggs

1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder

salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup olive oil

oil for cooking


Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl and let rest for about 10 minutes. Make a little

bigger than golf-ball sized portions and form into a patty shape. Preheat a large saute pan over

medium-high heat, add enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan, place the cakes in the pan trying not to overcrowd. Cook until browned on each side and cooked thoroughly.

1 bunch kale, washed and roughly chopped

2 garlic cloves, sliced or minced

1 shallot or onion, sliced or minced

oil for cooking

water or stock (vegetable or chicken)

salt and pepper to taste

dash of balsamic vinegar


Preheat a saute pan over medium heat and add enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Add shallots and garlic and saute briefly but do not let turn brown. Then add the kale and cook stirring regularly. Add vinegar and cook to desired done-ness (adding water or stock if too dry) then season with salt and pepper.

2 avocados

2 Tablespoons rice vinegar or white wine vinegar

1/4 cup olive oil

1 teaspoon dijon mustard

1/4 cup water

salt to taste


Place all the items except the oil in a blender and puree until smooth, with motor running slowly, drizzle oil into the puree to make a smooth thick mixture.