A knife-and-fork tea specialty
We sometimes note a certain confusion over the concept of “Tea-time”, in that, for some benighted reason, many seem to believe that this implies a period of the time wherein one drinks the boiled leaves of certain herbs. In point of fact, there are many different kinds of “tea”. For example, when we say it’s “time to take a spot of tea”, we probably mean “Earl Grey and crumpets”. If, however, one mentions a “knife and fork tea”, one can presume what the Continentals might consider to be a full meal. Or, as we Dark Lords say, “Never bow your head to say Grace, because the Hobbits will make off with your elevenses.”
Speaking of Captain Nemo, did you see that 1950s version of “20,000 leagues under the Sea” wherein, for reasons explicable only to the authors of said film, the brilliant scientific mind behind a submarine that was literally centuries ahead of its time chose, for essentially unexplained reasons, to attempt to imitate non-seafood using only the flesh of underwater beasts, resulting primarily in food that looked like ordinary food but tasted disturbingly like fish? If you’re like us, you wonder: “What in the world were they thinking?”
The treasures of the sea are vast and myriad, and certainly Victorians of every class and sort loved the bounty of the waves ruled by Brittania. In fact, pretty much anyone in the 19th century whose country or domain was not landlocked found a plenitude of delicious sea creatures.
Why in the world would Captain Nemo attempt to emulate the land that he hated, instead of making brilliant and sumptuous repasts from the bounty which quite literally surrounded him?
He wouldn’t. He would totally do cool things with fish. And so we borrowed this recipe from him in an effort to set the record straight.
Yield: 24 cakes
Skill Level: 2
12 ounces albacore tuna
1/4 cup finely diced celery
1/4 cup minced fresh chives
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 large egg
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce (optional)
1 1/4 cups panko or fine dried bread crumbs
Roasted Pepper-Chive Aioli:
⅓ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup canned roasted red peppers, chopped and drained
1 tablespoon fresh chives, minced
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Panko Tuna Cakes: In a large bowl, combine celery, minced chives, mayonnaise, egg, mustard, and hot sauce; mix well with a fork. Add tuna and 1/4 cup panko; stir gently just to mix.
Put remaining 1 cup panko in a shallow bowl. Shape tuna mixture into 24 cakes, each about 2 inches wide and 1/2 inch thick.
Turn each cake in panko to coat on all sides, pressing gently to make crumbs adhere.
Place cakes slightly apart in an oiled 12- by 17-inch baking pan.
Bake in a 475° regular or convection oven until golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes. With a spatula, transfer crab cakes to a platter.
Roasted Pepper-Chive Aioli: In a blender, mix mayonnaise, roasted red peppers, chives, lemon juice, and minced garlic until smooth. Spoon a dollop onto each cake.
Garnish platter with fresh chives. Serve hot. Beware of sharks.