What 'declasse' foods do you try to fancy up?

I am just about to start cooking dinner and decided that my meal plan tonight was decidedly ‘redneck’, so I went about rearranging it to make it a little more presentable (not necessarily tastier though). That got me thinking about what other foods I use, but are considered (by me) to be lower class or inferior and how I go about fixing that problem. :wink:

I know that all good cooks will use the freshest, highest quality ingredients to get the best flavors, but let’s face it sometimes the best is just out of reach- either budgetary reasons (I can’t afford it) or the best product in unavailable regionally.

So here is the old menu for tonight:
Canned Salmon turned into patties (using egg cracker crumbs, salt, pepper, garlic and dill)
Macaroni and Cheese (from a box)
Canned Green beans and apple sauce

Sounds like a school lunch menu, doesn’t it? So I done went and fancied it up like so:
Canned Salmon turned into patties (using egg, a mixture of cracker crumbs and seasoned bread crumbs, salt, pepper, fresh parsley and grated onion)
Patatoes Anna
Asparagus (because the "what goes with salmon thread made me hungry for it :wink: ) and Apple Sauce for those who want it (served with a sprinkle of cinnamon for extra fancy :D).

Looks a lot better, doesn’t it? At least for starting with canned salmon (I would be having salmon steaks but fresh was out of my budget this week). So what other cheap food stuff can you make presentable in a pinch?

Don’t know about you, but salmon croquettes are actually a pretty classy french luncheon dish, when presented on a bed of lettuice and a nice sauce along with it …

Now I’m all nostalgic. Mom used to make me salmon patties all the time. Wif ketchup.

I always hold my pinky in the air when I’m eating Kraft macaroni & cheese.

Mac & Cheese is going to be the base for tonight’s Bachelor Chow. When the wife is out of town, the husband shall indulge his inner slob. Macaroni, cheese, hamburger, chili sauce, some diced onion, lots of hot sauce, all washed down with a few beers. Hawt Cewzine at it’s finest! But I have been know to make M&C with shells, Asiago cheese, sourdough breadcrumbs and the like.

What’s the difference between a salmon croquette and a salmon patty? Is it just the shape or is there something more? I don’t think I have ever had a salmon croquette and always assumed it was salmon-patty stuff formed into a ball. :wink:

And my husband tonight asked me if I thought canned tuna would work as well…Since I cannot stand canned tuna (or frozen; any tuna not caught that day tastes like yuk to me and there is no such thing as fresh-caught tuna in Kansas) we will not be finding out any time soon. But would tuna patties be similar to salmon patties, would that even appeal to anyone?

Really? Ketchup? I never heard of such a thing! :wink: My redneck husband likes tartar sauce on his, but the rest of the family are purists and eat them sauceless.

A contestant on Pyramid back in the '80s tried to get their partner to say the word salmon by describing salmon patties and everyone, especially Dick Clark, was like “what?

He said later he got tons of mail with recipes for salmon patties after that episode.

I like asparagus and you can’t beat it when combined with salmon, but green beans are a great side dish just lightly cooked and very quickly fried in olive oil and garlic, or plain butter and salt.

I don’t think I’ve ever had a salmon croquette, but croquettes in my experience are basically deep-fried cylinders with a breadcrumb crust and a ragout-type filling of meat, prawns or potatoes.

In the Netherlands, the meaty type is the standard. In Belgium and France, the potato or prawn types are more popular. The deep-frying and crust are the defining characteristics, I think.

In the Dutch “cuisine”, aside from meat croquettes, which are regarded as fast/cheap/snack food, even though they can be very tasty if done well:

Hutspot is one of the traditional Dutch dishes, currently usually executed by mixing mashed potato, cooked carrots a few bits of onion and fried bacon. The actual traditional recipe calls for a Potato/Parsnip mash with carrots and onion served with slow cooked brisket. The difference is amazing.

Too late to add, but: anything that calls for mashed potatoes; try substituting about half the potatoes with parsnips. You won’t regret it.

Parsnip adds a very nice sweet and peppery taste to the mash, somewhere halfway between spicy bell peppers and carrots is the best way I can describe it.

Mmmm…Salmon patties are comfort food for me. I make them with cracked wheat cracker crumbs, dill, garlic, scallions and sesame seeds and add a bit of sesame oil when I fry them. A bit of dill and chopped scallions added to yogurt or sour cream is good as a sauce. That’s considerably fancier than what I grew up on.

I’ve used canned or leftover tuna to make tuna patties. They’re a bit milder than salmon, but otherwise fairly tasty.

My Kraft Mac & Cheese gets dressed up with some 5 year old cheddar added, along with chipotle hot sauce.

My Tombstone pizza gets jalapeno summer sausage added, along with sun-dried tomatoes soaked in oil.

My packaged Pad Thai gets a squirt of fish sauce in it, along with fresh limes.

I’m not quite sure if this is what you mean, but if I have any Chinese potstickers or eggrolls hanging around in the refrigerator, I heat up a can of plain old Campbell’s chicken rice soup, throw in the potstickers or sliced eggroll, a couple sliced scallions if I have them, a dash of soy sauce - and there’s wonton soup.

There’s nothing wrong with declasse foods per se - it’s all in the presentation. A grilled cheese sandwich tastes twice as good served on my one gorgeous Wedgwood Wild Strawberry plate.

Could somebody post a recipe for their salmon patties? I could wing it, or I could ask Mom, but hey.

Here’s Paula Deen’s: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/salmon-croquettes-recipe/index.html

It looks pretty close to what my mom used to make, except for the onions.

This sounds pretty “bleah” but it’s actually quite decent: When I was young, I didn’t care much for mashed potatoes, so my mom would brown some hamburger, drain it, add a little salt and pepper and mix it into the mashed potatoes for me.

This made me laugh–we had salmon patties last night. One large can salmon, 1 or 2 eggs, about a tablespoon each of onion and garlic powder, and about a teaspoon of old Bay. Add in enough breadcrumbs to bind, make them into 4 patties and place on wax paper on a plate in the fridge for a few hours to firm up. Heat up your skillet, put in enough canola oil to cover. When the oil shimmers, place the patties in and cook approx. 5 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. I grew up eating these with yellow mustard, my husband with soy sauce. Oh–we did also have Kraft mac & cheese, and field peas. I think I’m having the leftovers right now for lunch!

Salmon Patties

1 can salmon (drained)
1 egg
1 sleeve of cracked wheat crackers crushed (about 3/4 to 1 cup)
roughly 1/2 cup chopped scallions
cracked black pepper
2 Tbsp sesame seed
oil for frying (I like to add a bit of sesame oil to canola for flavor)

Mix up everything but the oil and form into patties. Heat the oil on medium heat in a heavy skillet (cast iron works well for this) and fry the patties until crispy and golden brown.


6-8 oz sour cream or yogurt
2 Tbsp dried dill or 4 Tbsp chopped fresh
2-3 Tbsp chopped scallions (optional)
Squeeze of lemon juice

Mix together and refrigerate for at least two hours.

This is my “fancied” up rendition of what my mom served a lot of Friday evenings when I grew up.

Do you guys pick the small bones out the canned salmon, or do they disappear during cooking? I can’t imagine they are a nice addition to salmon patties, but picking the bones out is both disgusting and tedious.

The vertebrae are so small and so thoroughly steam/heat packed during the canning process that they are texturally and practically a non-issue. They are toothsome and similar to- the tiniest bit of soft and yielding crunch…I guess, kind of like a kix cereal ball that has been saturated in milk at the bottom of the bowl. And that texture is rather lessened in a patty- with onion, celery, eggs, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper and parsley- cream peas (bechamel and peas) to cover.