First, I wanted a bulkier patty. And that bulk needed to come from something other than tuna. Second, why should tuna patties use soup powder? Tuna is plenty flavorful on its own. Scratch the soup powder. And third, I wanted a higher yield. Getting 7-ish patties from two cans of tuna was always kind of disappointing.
And then one day I had leftover rice in the fridge, and inspiration struck. Rice! It was just what I needed to bulk up the patties, stretch the tuna a little further, and get a higher recipe yield. And the truth is, any leftover grain should work. Couscous, bulgar, barley, wheat berries — I’d give them all a try.
Remember how I promised you kid-friendly recipes this week? If you can’t sneak an herb past your bunch, you can skip it entirely or use something else lying around. Peas…corn…cheese. It’s all good. Tuna patties are flexible that way.
One year ago: The fudgesicle failure of 2012
Yield: 12 (2-inch) patties
- 1½ cups cooked rice (any kind)*
- 2 (185 grams/6.5 oz) cans tuna
- ¼ cup fresh herb, chopped (parsley, celery leaves, and cilantro are all great)
- 2 eggs
- salt and pepper, to taste
- canola oil, for frying
*Uncooked rice magically doubles or even triples during cooking, depending on the variety. If you’re making rice just for this, you’ll need ½-¾ cup of the uncooked stuff.
1. Mix rice, tuna, herbs, eggs, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl (or the pot with the leftover rice).
2. Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a nonstick skillet. I start with 3 Tbsp and add as needed between batches. Turn the heat to low.
3. Spoon the tuna mixture into a ¼-cup measure. Press it down a little so it sticks together, but don’t pack it too firmly, or it won’t come out of the cup easily. Hold the measuring cup upside down over the pan to let the patty drop into the pan, then press down with a spatula to create the patty/burger shape. Fry 3-4 at a time until light brown and set on both sides, about 3 minutes per side.