What to Cook after a Vacation

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

What to eat upon returning from vacation poses a real dilemma. There’s never anything fresh in the fridge and you’re too tired to cook, anyway. Yet, having eaten out for 18 days in a row, you don’t want a restaurant meal or takeout, either.

So on Wednesday, our first full day back from Hawaii, I was rummaging through my pantry and freezer, trying to decide what to have for dinner. In the fridge, I had a package of tofu that hadn’t expired and some eggs. In the pantry, some Wild Planet tuna and panko bread crumbs. The parsley on my deck was thriving, thanks to my house-sitter son.

So, Tuna Tofu Patties!

These patties are not only good for returning vacationers; they make a good, last-minute pantry dinner if you have tofu on hand. They’re also excellent for a meatless Monday meal and for pesco-vegetarians (vegetarians who eat fish).

The patties are easy to make and cook in just four minutes. However, they can be difficult to turn if you don’t have a thin-bladed egg turner that can slide easily under the patties. A thicker egg turner tends to break them up.

Tuna Tofu Patties
1 block (14 ounces) firm tofu
2 cans (5 ounces each) tuna, drained
¾ cup panko breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
¼ teaspoon cayenne
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons oyster sauce (optional)
1 teaspoon sesame oil (optional)
Kosher salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
¼ cup vegetable oil

In a large bowl, mash tofu with a fork until crumbly. Add tuna and flake with the fork, mixing together with tofu. Add panko, parsley, cayenne, garlic, and oyster sauce and sesame oil, if using. Mix thoroughly and taste. Season with salt. If using oyster sauce, you’ll need about ¼ teaspoon of salt. If not using oyster sauce, you’ll need more.

Add egg and stir to combine well. Using a ½-cup measure as your guide, form eight patties.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add patties in batches to avoid crowding the pan. Cook for 2 minutes or until the bottom of the patty is nicely browned. Turn gently, using a thin-bladed egg turner, to cook the other side. Cook for another 2 minutes or until second side is browned and patties are heated through. Drain on paper towels.

Makes 8 patties

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Posted: Oct 11th by Sandy_Hu