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January Blooms and a birdhouse abuser

  We are having a string of warmer and dry days this week. Just in time for a new deck (more on that later). I did a walk-about yesterday and noticed several blooms - Arctostaphylos ' Sunset' (Manzanita) Galanthus nivalis (Snowdrops)   Hellebore 'Merlin' And something not so pleasing - I discovered a birdhouse that was just put up last fall now looks like this! - This has happened before so I wasn't completely surprised. I posted this photo to a local birding group and got a multitude of answers but most of them stated that it is likely a squirrel. That makes sense as we have a lot of them. Flickers and woodpeckers was also a common answer. That would be a possibility but I only see flickers and woodpeckers at our feeders periodically so I don't know. I was advised to attach a metal ring around the hole.   Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy

Tuna croquettes

One of my favorite meals that my mother makes is salmon patties (I don't think the term "croquette" was even known in my household), creamed potatoes, biscuits and gravy. A few years ago, she showed me how she made them, I wrote the recipe down, gave it to Michael, he made them for me one time and asked me to never request it again. He said they were gross to make (she uses the salmon that comes in the can with the bones and they have to be carefully removed) plus he has a major aversion to anything that lives in the water. I think at some point in his childhood, his family was tortured with fish or some other type of disaster, because all of them hate it.

I eat fish practically every time I eat out and I've learned that if I want it at home, I've got to make it myself. I'm not that crazy about pasta and Michael loves it so occasionally he will have his pasta and I'll have fish.

This recipe caught my eye when I watched Alton Brown make it and I decided to try it. These are good, not quite as tasty as my mother's salmon patties, and I may try the recipe sometime with salmon instead of tuna.

One problem I had with this recipe is that the croquettes do not hold together well. A reviewer suggested that you use one egg instead of two* and I think I'll try that the next time.


* 1 (7-ounce) pouch albacore tuna, drained well and shredded by hand
* 2 green onions, chopped fine
* 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
* 2 large eggs, beaten* (see note above)
* 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
* 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
* 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs, divided
* Olive oil, for sauteing


Place the tuna, onions, mustard, eggs, lemon juice, salt, pepper and 1/4 cup of the bread crumbs into a medium mixing bowl and stir to combine. Divide the mixture into 8 rounds and set aside on a parchment lined half sheet pan. Allow to rest for 15 minutes. Place the remaining bread crumbs into a pie plate. One at a time, coat each round in the panko on all sides.

Heat enough olive oil to cover the bottom of a 12-inch saute pan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the croquettes and cook 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Remove to a cooling rack set over a half sheet pan lined with paper towels. Allow to cool for 2 to 3 minutes before serving.

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy


  1. I love salmon patties. My mom made the best but since she's gone I've had to learn to make them myself. My recipe is similar to yours but I add a couple of spoons of real mayo. It cuts some of the fishiness and helps bind the patties along with the egg. I have an aversion to the bones so I carefully pick them out by hand before I mix them up. Yours looks yummy!

  2. The salmon bones in the canned salmon are delicious and full of calcium!!! Give them a try! :)

  3. This sounds much like my salmon patty recipe. I have never eaten a croquette either. tee hee....

  4. Phillip, these look incredible. This is a comfort food that brings back memories of my youth. Thanks for reminding me that I need to make some real soon. Thanks...

    Sounds like you both could give our Washington political types a lesson in compromise, too.

  5. My mother also made salmon patties, from the canned salmon, and always left the bones in. Sometimes she just served pieces of the chilled canned salmon on a lettuce leaf with a dollop of mayo - we all tried to get each others' bones - we loved them! A funny sticking feeling in the teeth, good calcium - yum!

  6. Looks really good. I'll definitely try this recipe out!

  7. Those look soooo good. I actually have all the ingredients and just might try them this weekend with salmon. I could eat salmon 3 times a week and not be tired of it.

  8. They look delicious, although
    I can't stand bones when I'm eating.
    It has something to do with eating school dinners when I was young, full of bones, not so much fish.
    I prefer the boneless cans of Salmon, mix with saltine crackers, an egg, dash of cracked black pepper.
    Roll into smal patties, and then dip in cornmeal, fry in small amount of oil.
    Serve with creamed potatoes and English peas.

  9. If we were not grilling chicken tonight, this is what I would make. I can tell it is wonderful, and those remaining jars of tuna I canned last year will work nicely. Thank you Phillip.

  10. One of my favorite meals growing up was my mom's salmon croquettes. Thanks for the nudge; I'll make them tomorrow. (BTW, she used the canned salmon, too, and the bones *are* good for you; however, having talked to someone recently who worked in a salmon canning factory, I think I'm going to try fresh from here on out...)

  11. Now that is being a nice good Southern child. I love them of course. I also fix everything else in a frying fan. I don't use as much real butter anymore as I do Smart Balance.

  12. Yummy! I make salmon patties too out of canned salmon. I can not eat the bones or skin. My receipe calls for dill, juice from a fresh lemon, onion, egg, bread crumbs, salt, pepper. They are wonderful, and they always fall apart too!

  13. I am still laughing at Michael's aversion to fish ...It was never my favorite either...It was probably years of fish sticks served at school on Friday! gail

  14. Never thought of making them with tuna but guess I'm in the yes column for salmon patties, Philip!

    Philo likes the patties made with garlic, red pepper and hoisin sauce accompanied with rice & stir-fried peapods.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  15. We had salmon croquettes (that's what my mom called them!) today, along with homemade hash browns and broccoli. Salmon is one of my favorite foods. i also love tuna!

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  17. Hi Phillip! I was blog hopping and came across a fellow-Florence blogger!
    My mom made salmon patties, too. Croquette was a word I never heard until I was grown...and I found out that it was just a patty! lol

  18. My husband showed me this post. I love salmon patties and that was one of my favorite meals growing up that my grandma made. Did you make your gravy out of the salmon drippings? It is soooo good. My favorite meal is similar to yours....salmon patties, mashed potatoes with salmon gravy and mac and cheese....true comfort food! I leave the bones in and just crush them really fine.

  19. Looks yummy!! I will definitely try this recipe at home. Because salmon patties is my favorite.


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