Recipes that involve breadcrumbs—from meatballs to casseroles—always pose a sodium challenge because they contain bread (remember the Center for Disease Control top-sodium culprit list?) and salty seasonings. Some products can equal more than 1,600 mg of sodium per 1 cup [110 g].
By using a nut-based replacement, you can make a low-sodium substitution while enhancing the color and texture of the dish. Enter Dukkah Spice, a blend of toasted nuts, seeds, and spices that can be mixed into yogurt or olive oil as a spread, sprinkled on salads and soups, or folded into your burgers and meatballs in place of seasoned bread crumbs. The chickpea flour in the recipe binds the patties together, while the dukkah spice provides the bulk and flavor. Since you can use any salt-free nuts or spices to make dukkah, experiment with your own blends for different levels of warmth, nuttiness, and heat.
This recipe is from Low-So Good ($18; Chronicle Books, 2016) by Jessica Goldman Foung; photographs by John Lee.
- For the Salmon Patties
- 1 1/2 lb [680 g] salmon fillets, skin on and deboned
- Dukka Spice Mix (see below)
- 2 green onions, root ends trimmed, thinly sliced
- 1/4 white onion, finely diced
- 1/4 cup [7 g] chopped fresh cilantro or basil
- Zest of 1 lemon, plus 1/2 lemon for squeezing
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 3 Tbsp chickpea flour, or 1/4 cup [15 g] panko bread crumbs
- Vegetable oil for frying (Clean Plates suggests using coconut oil)
- Carrot–Sweet Onion Dressing (see below) or Greek yogurt for serving
- For the Dukka Spice Mix:
- 3/4 cup [90 g] toasted salt-free pepitas, pine nuts, pistachios, or almonds
- 2 Tbsp white sesame seeds
- 2 Tbsp coriander seeds
- 1 Tbsp cumin seeds
- 1/4 tsp salt-free garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- For the Carrot-Sweet Onion Dressing:
- 1 medium carrot, roughly chopped
- 1/4 white onion, chopped
- 1/2 cup [120 ml] grapeseed oil or olive oil
- 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp salt-free garlic powder
- Preheat the oven to 375°F [190°C]. Line a baking pan with parchment paper.
- Place the salmon fillets skin-side down in the prepared baking pan. Bake until the fish turns light pink, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Once cool enough to handle, peel off and discard the salmon skin. Put a fresh piece of parchment in the baking pan.
- Using two forks, flake the cooked salmon into small pieces and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add the dukka, green onions, white onion, cilantro, lemon zest, egg, and chickpea flour. Stir to combine. Make small salmon patties, 2 1/ 2 in [6 cm] wide, using about 1/ 2 cup [90 g] of the mixture per patty. Place the patties in the prepared baking pan. Cover with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes, or overnight, to help the patties firm up for successful frying.
- When ready to cook, line a large plate with paper towels. In a large skillet, heat 2 to 3 Tbsp vegetable oil over medium-high heat until the oil begins to ripple. Carefully put two patties into the skillet and cook until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip the patties and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the patties to the prepared plate. Discard any browned bits from the skillet and repeat with the remaining patties, adding more oil and adjusting the heat as needed. Serve warm with a squeeze of lemon juice and a drizzle of dressing.
- For the Dukka Spice Mix: Heat a medium skillet or sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the pepitas and toast, stirring frequently, until they turn golden and begin to pop, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the pepitas to a small mixing bowl. Add the sesame seeds, coriander seeds, and cumin seeds to the skillet and toast until they become fragrant, about 2 minutes.
- Transfer the toasted nuts and seeds to a food processor (or spice grinder). Add the garlic powder and pepper and pulse until the mixture forms a crumbly powder. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 month.
- For the Carrot-Sweet Onion Dressing: Fill a small pot with 2 in (5 cm) water and place a metal steamer basket in the pot, above the water. Bring the water to a simmer over high heat and place the carrot pieces in the steamer basket. Cover and steam over medium-low heat until the carrots are tender, about 20 minutes.
- Transfer the carrot to a small food processor (or blender). Add the onion, grapeseed oil, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic powder, and 1 Tbsp water and blend. (The dressing will be slightly chunky, so if you want it smoother, add a bit more water or lemon juice.)
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
- Variation: Want to make a faster version of this recipe for dinner? Simply coat even-size salmon fillets with 1 tsp vegetable oil each. Rub the dukka on top and cook the fillets as directed. Remove the skin and serve whole with lemon wedges or the dressing.