Can you keep the salmon a secret.

Last night I made tiny little salmon cakes–I don’t know what I was thinking–the salmon just looked so fresh in the case and Ferdinand loves mashed potato.  I got all whipped up into a salmon/potato cake and pan seared asparagus frenzy.  I lost my balance on the edge of reality:  “He’ll love this.” I thought.

It’s one thing to think your baby is going to like this or your baby is going to like that before they are born.  And sometimes they surprise you and say things like “I love lettuce.”  But to try and fool yourself into thinking that your child who gagged on the essence of fish the last time he had it is going to accept it, pink, and in a fish cake, is ridiculous.  My son could enter himself into the Guinness Book of World Records for scent accuracy and in his age group he would have no competition.
I tossed together some tender watercress leaves with slices of endive and parsley for a salad on the side.  I made a sauce of creamy yogurt, a dollop of mayo, crushed garlic, fresh thyme, lemon zest, salt and pepper and poured into individual sauce dishes.  I plated the whole thing and as I was setting the food onto the table, “he’s not going to eat this” drove it’s way through the roadblocks.  Ferd sat down and said very matter of factly, “Mom, I can’t eat that.”   I took a bite of delicate, delicious, crispy on the outside creamy on the inside salmon cake.   He held his nose.  “Mom, I can’t even smell that.”  “You know, tastes change,” I said.  “They’re not changing now, Mom.”  It’s hard to be a mother when you want to believe that you can convince this other, smaller version of you, that they should like a piece of fish because you like a piece of fish. Or that you should at least put your foot down, and say “well, that’s what’s for dinner,” but you’re too tired to make it happen.

Ferdinand had a hamburger, a carrot, and chicken soup with some peas in it from last night. If you can manage to muster up a little salmon love, make the salmon cakes.

Get yourself a super fresh filet of salmon, weighing about a half a pound.  Season it with kosher salt on both sides, and cook it either in a hot sauté pan with olive oil, or roast it in the oven at 400 degrees.  Either way, cook the salmon until just done.  It should still have a tinge of darker pink to it in the middle when you take it off the heat.  Allow it to cool completely.  Cook about four fist-sized potatoes, peeled, cut into two inch bits, and crowded in cold salted water, until fork tender.  Drain and mash immediately.  Add salt to taste.  (This is a good point to start cooking your beans.  Hop down to the next paragraph, and come back when the beans are simmering.)  When the potatoes are cool, add one egg yolk, a dribble of cream, a Tablespoon of fresh chopped chive, one of chopped shallot, a teaspoon of fresh thyme, or if you have nothing else, a little chopped parsley.  Mix in the salmon gently with a rubber spatula.  Form into small cakes, about two to three inches across, and sprinkle with flour.  Heat up your best quality olive oil, or a little olive oil with butter.  When it spits at you, if you flick in a little crumb, it’s ready.  Arrange the cakes in the pan with plenty of space between them, and cook til nicely browned.  Flip them over, and brown the other side.  Remove to a plate.

1 super fresh filet of salmon, weighing about a half a pound
4 fist-sized potatoes, peeled, cut into two inch bits
1 egg yolk
1 Tablespoon of heavy cream, or good quality mayonnaise
1 Tablespoon of fresh chopped chive,
1 Tablespoon of chopped shallot
1 teaspoon of fresh thyme, or parsley
Flour to sprinkle on to the cakes before frying
Best quality olive oil for frying

For the sauce: equal parts whole milk yogurt, and mayonnaise, mixed with a little minced shallot or garlic, some lemon juice, lemon zest, (some crushed coriander), fresh thyme and some salt and pepper.

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