Serious Eats: Recipes

French in a Flash: Niçoise Tuna Cakes

[Photographs: Kerry Saretsky]

I love crab cakes. If they're on the menu, I order them. I devised this departure from crab cakes not out of boredom, but in the attempt to create yet another thing to sate my adoration. Crispy on the outside, doughy on the inside; light, briny, and hearty. They're perfect.

In this version, I start with fresh tuna steak, cooked medium, and flaked to the texture of crab meat. Then, I pepper the meat with the flavors of a Niçoise salad: capers, lemon, olive oil, anchovies, garlic, olives, and thyme. Bind with crumbs made from the stale butts of leftover baguettes and mayonnaise, and you have a cake that is altogether unconventional. I serve it with easy tapenade crème fraîche and lemon aïoli that are lessons in how to renovate store-bought ingredients into something that tastes homemade.

Niçoise tuna cakes are inspired by the tuna-crowned Niçoise salad, but modeled into something quite American. I love the unique flavor and heft of the fresh tuna, the pop of the spritely capers, and the bite of the shards of olive and lemon. They're unique and truly honest-to-goodness good. Try it for La Fête des Pères (Father's Day) on Sunday!

About the author: Kerry Saretsky is the creator of French Revolution Food, where she reinvents her family's classic French recipes in a fresh, chic, modern way. She also writes the The Secret Ingredient series for Serious Eats.

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