I originally wanted to do a low carb fish recipe for Lent. Halfway through it, I realized this recipe wouldn’t work. Why? Well, it was delicious– so it fit the bill there. They came out perfectly crispy on the outside and tender on the inside and the spicy dijon aioli was to die for. So why wouldn’t this work for Lent? One word: Pork.
Ok, if you’re Catholic, these fish cakes aren’t going to be an ideal Lenten Friday dinner option because instead of breadcrumbs, they are made with pork rinds. Could I have made a different kind of tuna cake? Sure. But this recipe was just too good to chalk up as a loss. In fact, it’s darn near perfect. Heck, I’ll say it– it’s perfect. Seriously. And it’s seriously low carb– just .5g net carbs per piece. Yep–you heard that right! How can you go wrong with that? Just eat it on Saturday. Or Sunday. Or any other meat eating day. Or, if you aren’t Catholic, eat it whenever your little heart desires–which will be often once you’ve made your first batch. The best part is that these reheat beautifully in a toaster oven!
The aioli really adds a flavor boost to the tuna cakes. It’s spicy, but not in your face spicy. It leaves a pleasant heat in your mouth that lingers. It doesn’t burn– it’s not that spicy. It’s just this heavenly warmth that goes right down to your soul. Pair this with a salad or some asparagus and voila–dinner.
A good tip here is to leave a few larger chunks in your pork rinds when you crush them. It really creates a wonderful breadcrumb-like texture and adds extra crunch, which is awesome.
Crispy Tuna Cakes with Spicy Dijon Aioli
Makes about 8 tuna cakes. Less than one carb per cake.
- 10 oz. canned albacore tuna, drained very well (two 5 oz. cans)
- 1 egg
- 1/4 C crushed pork rinds (for inside)
- 3 T mayonnaise
- 3 T grated parmesan cheese
- 1/4 C shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 C diced raw onions
- 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp. dried tarragon
- 1/2 tsp. dried parsley (or a few tablespoons of finely chopped fresh parsley)
- 1 T dijon mustard
- 1 T fresh lemon juice
- Pinch of salt and pepper
- Coconut or avocado oil for pan frying (enough to coat 1/4 inch of a skillet on the bottom)
- 3/4 C crushed pork rinds (for the outside)
- 1/4 C mayonnaise
- 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1 T dijon mustard
- 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
- Pinch of sweetener (if desired)
- Heat oil up in skillet over medium heat while you prepare your tuna cakes.
- Combine tuna, egg, mayonnaise, 1/4 C pork rinds, mozzarella and parmesan cheeses, onions, garlic powder, cayenne, tarragon, parsley, dijon, salt and pepper and lemon juice and stir until everything is evenly coated and moist.
- Roll fish cakes into balls that are about 2 1/2 inches in diameter, then roll them in the remaining pork rinds to create a light breading (it does not need to be heavily covered with pork rinds-- just lightly so).
- Place tuna cake balls into the pan at least two inches apart and press down lightly with the back of a pancake turner or spatula until they are about 2/3 of in inch thick (eyeball it). Allow to cook on low-medium heat for 7-8 minutes, then flip. The bottom should be a deep golden brown. Cook other side for an additional 7-8 minutes.
- Remove tuna cakes to a paper towel to drain excess grease and continue to cook cakes until all the mixture is gone.
- Prepare the aioli by whisking together all aioli ingredients until smooth and creamy. Add sweetener if you like-- or leave it out. Drizzle the aioli over the top of the hot tuna cakes. Serve garnished with fresh lemon.
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