For those of us who can eat vegetables in their natural state, without the use of various sauces and threats, then this recipe is not aimed directly at you. Rather, your children.
You know, those little people that wander around the house. Tottering around with their disproportionately large heads covered in wispy hair and who generally have their fingers either in their mouth or down their pants?
I do think hiding veges in food is a good idea, sometimes. I don’t see it as a long term solution when trying to teach your children healthy eating, they’re going to have to come to terms with eating their veges at some point in their lives. So I go with a little from column A and a little from column B.
Well, my fabulous Fish balls are of the ‘hidden vege’ variety. It’s one of those recipes where the main ingredient isn’t really discernible. I know, you think it’s fish right? Well, you’d be wrong. The way I make them they end up as vege balls with a little tinned tuna or salmon mixed up in between.
The story goes….
I was in the market for a fish recipe for the boys, and I had been burnt in the past. Badly.
I remember they were about one and three and so naturally I was not sound of mind or body. My brain was addled and tired and I was foolishly thinking they might eat salmon cakes or patties. I was wrong.
I had spent at least 45 minutes preparing and cooking these delicious little morsels only to have them spat out and rejected.
I felt as if I were the one who was spat out and rejected, so delicate was my emotional state at the time. Mothers, I know we have all been at that point where our efforts can only go unnoticed and unappreciated for so long. We become irrational and over sensitive.
I swore never to make salmon patties again. Ever.
But the good mother in me won over the bad one and eventually I tried again. I knew fish was one of those foods that made a rare appearance on my children’s menu and so I persisted with tinned salmon (or tuna), but this time I tried something different.
Crumbed, fried and dipped in tomato sauce. How could I go wrong?
I used the salmon patties in the recipe books for a guide and have ended up with something that goes like this…
Fish Balls Recipe
1 potato, boiled and mashed
3-5 tblspn (or more) puree vegetables
small tin of tuna or salmon (not too much or it tastes too fishy)
handful of cheese (grated Parmesan or cheddar)
handful of bread crumbs and some egg.
Stuff for crumbing (you’ve all done that before, I don’t need to explain).
Mix the puree veg, tuna or salmon and cheese into the mashed potato in the pan.
Season a little. Throw in some bread crumbs and use a little of the whisked up egg you have ready for the crumbing (you only need the tiniest bit).
Roll into balls, the smaller the better. Mine have the diameter of a 20c piece….approximately. If I am feeling lazy, then they’re the size of golf balls.
Shallow fry in some canola oil.
Serve with tomato sauce or whatever else you want, maybe some mayo…
Notes on the Recipe
This is obviously a very plain recipe. My kids are so slow on the ‘try new things’ bandwagon. They have an aversion to onion, so I don’t put it in their food. But I think a little diced, sauted onion and even some garlic would go a long way in these little balls of goodness.
You could definitely make them vegetarian…you might just need a little more egg/breadcrumbs to bind.
You could run all day on this crumb and fry theme. I think kids would eat just about anything as long as it was crumbed and fried. You could make little arancini, which I did once – only to have them spat out. So I never did that again. Granted it was about 2 yrs ago now, but the incident scarred my well meaning heart, and I swore I would never go to such trouble again for toddlers.
I think it’s the size and shape that make them so appealing, so if you’re going to try it out on little ones, keep it in ball form and you should be right.