Sometimes a potato is not a potato.
A sandwich is actually an egg in disguise.
And a piece of salmon is made by Spongebob.
What I mean is, getting kids to eat food that’s good for them sometimes takes more than attention to flavor and presentation. Sometimes it’s just all about good salesmanship.
Because although children are very clever at sussing out healthful ingredients, they’re also suckers for good marketing (how many times has my daughter asked to buy the yogurt tubes with Shrek on the box just because Shrek is on the box?! Too many.)
I was talking to one mom who calls her spinach raviolis “mini-tacos” because although they think they don’t like ravioli or spinach, they love tacos. To sell the tactic even further she lets them eat the raviolis by hand and they gobble them right up.
Sometimes simple wordplay and a good story can make even the greenest, healthiest, grainiest thing seem like the most desirable food item in the world.
Case in point: my Krabby Patties.
I’ve probably heard the words “Who lives in a pineapple under the sea…” ten thousand times. And if you and your family are fans of the “absorbant, and porous, and yellow” square of television fame, you know who I’m talking about. I do my best to limit Belle and Conor’s tv time, but I’m a big softy when it comes to SpongeBob Squarepants. I just like the guy. And I love that he’s a short-order cook who makes the most delicious fast food in Bikini Bottom.
I figured if I could make a real-life version of the Krabby Patty, than maybe it would be one way to get my kids to east more fish.
So what are my patties made with?
Omega-rich wild salmon.
I adapted the dish from the salmon burger recipe in my favorite seafood cookbook: FISH by Rick Moonen and Roy Finamore.
I serve them on squishy whole wheat potato rolls slathered with one of two condiments: a lemony feta Greek yogurt spread, and for the adults, a spicier version of Russian dressing: harissa mayonaise.
Tomato and lettuce on the side–and you have an entire meal without having to dive into the deep blue sea.
And just saying these are Spongebob’s recipe gets your kids a bit closer to eating something wonderful and fresh from the sea.
Recipe for Krabby Patties (aka salmon sliders), adapted from the cookbook FISH
-You will need about a 1 1/2 pound salmon filet, skin removed. (I prefer wild caught, if you can swing it).
-Place filet in freezer for about 30 minutes before you’re ready to cook. This will make the fish less difficult to cut.
-Removed fish from freezer and dice into medium sized cubes.
-Place cubes in bowl and combine with 2 sliced scallions, 1 diced red pepper (stemmed and seeded), and 1/4 cup of creme fraiche. Toss gently with your hands to combine.
-Whip one egg white to soft peaks and then gently fold into fish.
-Form salmon into 6 sliders.
-Heat 1 tablespoon of canola oil in a large skillet or griddle on medium high heat. When it begins to shimmer add your patties (you can do this in two batches if your pan is not large enough).
-Turn heat down to medium and cook patties on one side for about 4 minutes, or until a nice golden brown crust forms.
-With a large spatula (or curved spatula) ever so gently flip the burger to cook the other side. If it crumbles a bit that’s OK, just nudge the pieces back together with your spatula. Cook second side until also golden brown, about 2-3 minutes.
-Place finished patty on the bun, alongside sliced tomatoes and lettuce. Maybe a pickle.
-Add lemon feta yogurt spread or harissa mayo, if you’d like (see below for recipe).
Recipe for lemon yogurt feta spread
-Combine in a blender or food processor: 1 cup of low-fat Greek yogurt, 1/2 cup of crumbled feta, juice and grated zest of one lemon, 1 tsp sugar, 1/2 cup of olive oil. Blend to combine. Stir in a small bunch of chopped dill, if you’d like. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Recipe for harissa mayonnaise (adapted from FISH)
-Combine 1/4 cup of mayo with 1 tsp of harissa, 1 tsp of grated lemon zest, 2 tsp of lemon juice, 2 tsp of sweet relish
- Stir to combine.