There is nothing like a good secret or a good sauce and when the two join together, surely the resulting mélange is a potent condiment worth slathering over everything. And I do. This sauce is one of those great discoveries that unintentionally poured its way into my refrigerator and heart in my rambling search to attain more vim and vigor. Back in the day when the public was saturated with information about beneficial essential fatty acids, I listened in. What I learned from Dr. Johanna Budwig is that flaxseed oil, a rich source of Omega 3 essential fatty acids becomes water soluble when combined with a sulfuric protein such as cottage cheese, yogurt or quark thereby allowing easier passage into cell membranes. With the desire to feed my interior self this electron rich oil which according to Budwig corrects the electron poor state of our cells due to our Standard American diets laden with hydrogenated fats, I set to blending 2% cottage cheese with organic cold pressed flaxseed oil in a 4:1 ratio. To this silky satin cream I added a clove of garlic bursting with antibacterial and antifungal properties and a swift kick of cayenne for a Vitamin C boost. What I wasn’t expecting was a flavor packed sauce with the full royal richness of a mayonnaise or an aioli and the added satisfaction of umami rich cheese. By Jove, you can have your cheese and eat it too! This nutritious substance is unbelievably good, addictive actually. Since there is more protein to oil in this mix, it has great mouth feel- a velvety creamy body without being oily. It is absolutely unctuous. It is also one solution to my slightly troublesome love affair with mayo. While I try not to fret too much about calories, fat and cholesterol, inevitably as I age I find myself adjusting how and what I eat. And like a junkie I need more and more of the white stuff to get the same fix. One swipe becomes two, two becomes three… (Sadly I am exhibiting the same tendencies towards my beloved ketchup, but that is another matter). So now I load up my sandwiches with happy abandon and judicious confidence in the praiseworthy form of secret sauce. But that is just the beginning for this cottage cheese-flax seed number; I have decided that it is the little black dress of the condiment world. You can forgo the garlic and cayenne and incorporate ground cardamom, honey and poppy seed instead for a decadent backdrop to one’s morning fruit and granola. Or stick to the standby but add the juice of half a lemon and whatever chopped herbs are on hand. This can be thinned down to make a salad dressing in the Way of the Green Goddess or served straight up as a dip for crudités or sweet potato fries that have been dusted with cumin. As one can easily imagine, the sauce can find its way into potato salads, tuna salads or deviled eggs. If commingled with ketchup, one has created secret sauce. And what hotdog or tater tot couldn’t be happier? Whenever I eat the stuff, I dream of the possibilities. One day it will find its way into an enlightened macaroni and cheese. Or perhaps the sauce will become enfolded in the light-as-a-feather kiss of a wanting warm soufflé. But those are the whims for another date and time. This day, I offer to you heart healthy salmon cakes. To your good health!
SALMON CAKES adapted from Sheila Lukin’s Simply Cooking
When I heard Dr. Mehmet Oz speak of the virtues of canned wild Alaskan salmon, I perked up. While I try to use as few canned goods as possible, my pocket book urged me to reconsider. I can hook this Omega 3 rich fish for a mere $1.50 at my local store and fry up these crunchy moist cakes chock full of essential fatty acids- canned never tasted so good.
15 oz. canned salmon
½ C. finely chopped onion
½ C. finely chopped celery
½ C. Secret Sauce or mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. mustard
½ a chopped pickle
2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro or parsley
1 tsp. lemon juice
½ tsp. Worcestershire sauce
¼ tsp paprika
2 dashes Tabasco
½ C. breadcrumbs
1 C. Panko
Directions: Gently flake the fish in a bowl, first removing any bits of skin, bone and cartilage. To the salmon add the onion and celery. In a separate bowl combine the Secret Sauce, mustard, pickle, cilantro, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, paprika, Tabasco and egg. Fold in the breadcrumbs and then gently mix into the fish. Be careful to not break the fish down too much. Place Panko in a large plate. Form fish mixture into 8 cakes and coat each patty with Panko. Refrigerate on a covered plate for at least an hour. Heat up a non-stick skillet with oil and fry cakes about 3-4 minutes on each side. These salmon cakes are best served immediately with some more secret sauce on the side (cut with some lemon) on a bed of salad greens. But they do refry nicely if you happen to have any left.