Tuna cakes: A kosher alternative to crabcakes

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Tuna cakes
Tuna cakes (LauriPatterson / E+ / Getty Images)

By Keri White

These are similar to crabcakes without breaking kashrut. They are simple to make and, while you might not want to use expensive, sushi-grade fish, they are a good way to use, for lack of a better term, scraps.


Often the fishmonger will sell the ends of the tuna loin or salmon pieces at a lower price because they are not as visually appealing and are not able to be sold as a fillet or steak. But they are still good quality and plenty tasty. This is an ideal recipe for that type of buy. And you can use pretty much any white fish such as cod, haddock, halibut, etc., for this dish.

These can be served on a lightly dressed bed of greens or on a toasted bun topped with your favorite condiments.

Tuna cakes

4 servings

  • 1 slice stale sandwich bread broken or cut into ¼-inch pieces
  • 1 pound fresh tuna, chopped into ¼-inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon pepper
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • Oil for frying

In a medium bowl, whisk the mayonnaise, scallions, parsley, lemon zest, salt, pepper and cayenne together until well combined. Add the tuna and breadcrumbs, and use a rubber spatula to gently fold everything together. Do not overmix.

Using wet hands, form the mixture into 4 loosely-packed patties. Be gentle; don’t try to pack and shape these like hamburgers, as this will impact the texture of the fish. Place the burgers on a plate, cover them with plastic wrap and refrigerate them for at least 30 minutes (or up to 24 hours).

Set a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and add about a tablespoon of oil — it should cover the bottom of the skillet. The oil is ready when a breadcrumb dropped in the pan sizzles.

At that point, carefully transfer the burgers to the pan. Cook them until golden brown and crisp on both sides, about 8-10 minutes total.

Keri White is a food columnist.

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