I debated internally whether to publish this story. To me, it was an example of one of those dinners that I make from time to time but don't really know is blog worthy or not. However, my husband's enthusiasm for it convinced me. In fact he has been trying to get my to publish the coronation pasta salad recipe for about a year saying that whilst it is simple, it might be what a time-pressed reader might like and it also happens to be his favourite ever dinner. I'm serious, no matter if I've slaved over making an elaborate meal, he'll always look happiest and ask for seconds when I bring out the Coronation pasta salad instead.
I adore fish cakes and crab cakes so I always like making these. These are based on a Nigella recipe from Nigella Bites. I don't have easy access to Matzo meal as she suggests using so I usually just do my own breadcrumbs or use polenta to give it an extra crunch. It is true when she says that the raw mix doesn't smell great. I thought it was quite hard to take but when you coat it and fry it up, all is forgiven. I slightly prefer the breadcrumbs to the polenta but in the interests of making haste and not drying out and whizzing up some breadcrumbs I think that polenta or matzo meal is a great substitute. They won't win any beauty pageants, in fact I had a terrible time photographing them but sometimes the proof is in the eating. And eating and eating.
The Coronation Pasta Salad was named after the famous Coronation Chicken Salad in which sliced chicken breast is combined with mayonnaise, raisins and curry powder (in its more abbreviated form) prepared for Queen Elizabeth II's Coronation in 1953. I first made it when I needed a side dish one afternoon with whatever I had in the pantry and freezer and ever since then several years ago, my husband has asked for it constantly.
For patties (makes 12)
415gram tin of good quality salmon
350g cold mashed potato plus 1 tablespoon of melted butter if you mash doesn't have any butter in it
1/4 cup finely sliced spring onion
Zest of 1/2 a lemon
Salt and pepper
2 cups of breadcrumbs or 1.5 cups or thereabouts of polenta
Oil for frying
Step 1 - Have a large tray ready and lined with cling wrap. Mix the patty ingredients together with your clean hands and shape into 12 rounds with your hands. Cover with more cling wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or more if you have time.
Step 2 - Whisk eggs in a bowl and on a large dinner plate place the breadcrumbs. Dip a fishcake in carefully into the egg and then dip in breadcrumbs. Mine hadn't hardened up that much whilst in the fridge for 1 hour.
Frying the polenta coated salmon cakes
Step 3 - Heat a frypan on medium heat and add oil. Carefully fry each until golden on one side. I find that I keep the lid on to ensure that the fishcake cooks through before the outside gets burnt. Carefully turn over and repeat until all are done.
Recipe adapted from Nigella Bites
Coronation Pasta Salad
An original recipe by Not Quite Nigella
250grams/0.5 pound uncooked short pasta (penne, shells, your choice)
1/3 cup raisins or sultanas
1/2 cup frozen peas
3-4 tablespoons good quality mayonnaise
1.5 teaspoons curry powder
Step 1 - Boil pasta and sultanas in plenty of salted boiling water for 6 minutes. Then for the last 2 minutes add peas and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
Step 2 - Drain under cold running water until cold
Step 3 - Add the mayonnaise and curry powder and mix. Taste and season with salt and pepper if necessary.