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Tropical Flavors

April 11, 2011

By Brianne Harrison Moore

As the mercury inches higher and we finally celebrate the end of the deep freeze, many of us skip over spring altogether and start eagerly anticipating the warmth of summer. We might not be quite there yet (not on an everyday basis, anyway) but we can still dream of sand and surf and summer heat as we dig into a meal tinged with tropical flavors.

This dish is a true leftover user—my husband and I accidentally overbought on fish one weekend and found ourselves with two whole fillets left over. Reheated fish fillets aren’t great, to say the least, so instead of rerunning the same meal, I mixed the fish with the quinoa I’d made as a side and fried it up into some yummy fish cakes. We had it with mango salsa, but it can just as easily be paired with tomato salsa, guacamole, or even eaten plain, if you prefer.

Fishcakes with Mango Salsa


2 fillets of fish, cooked (use a fairly firm white fish or salmon)

1 cup cooked quinoa

2 eggs

½-1 tsp chili powder (optional)

Flake the fish and combine it with the quinoa, eggs, and chili powder. The mixture will be fairly wet and a bit sticky.

Over medium heat, add just enough olive oil to cover the bottom of a frying pan (use a non-stick pan if you have one). When the oil is warm (a drop of water will sizzle and dissipate when it’s ready), drop spoonfuls of the fish mixture into the pan and use the back of a spoon to flatten them slightly, so they’re like pancakes. Cook until the bottoms are golden, then flip and continue cooking until the other side is golden brown and the cakes are cooked through. Keep warm in a 200 degree oven.


1 mango, peeled and cubed small

¼ bunch of cilantro, chopped (about ¼-1/3 cup, use less if you don’t care for the cilantro taste)

½ red onion, chopped

1 jalapeno chili, seeded and chopped

A few tablespoons of lime juice, to taste

Combine all ingredients and taste. Season, and add more lime juice, as needed. Serve over fish cakes.

Healthy Roundup

Fish is low in saturated fat and is an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial to the heart. The American Heart Association recommends eating fish at least twice a week (2 3.5-ounce servings, or two ¾-cup servings of flaked fish). It is important, however, for pregnant women and children to steer clear of fish that tend to be high in mercury (shark, swordfish, king mackerel, tilefish) and stick to fish that are usually low in mercury (shrimp, salmon, Pollock, catfish).

Quinoa, a seed once known as “the gold of the Incas” for its ability to sustain warriors, is rich in amino acids as well as manganese, magnesium, iron, tryptophan, copper, lysine, and phosphorus. These important minerals help maintain stamina, relax blood vessels, and aid in tissue growth and repair. Quinoa is considered a whole grain, and it provides a lot of fiber, which keeps blood sugars from spiking and helps you feel full longer.

Mangoes are excellent sources of carotenes (good for eyesight), vitamin C, and copper, and they’re a good source of B vitamins, vitamin E, potassium, and magnesium. A study conducted at the University of Florida found that mango juice and its extracts can inhibit the growth cycle of cancer cells. Mangoes also contain digestive enzymes that help break down proteins and soothe the stomach. It’s even said that eating mangoes regularly can help your complexion and boost your sex drive (thanks to the vitamin E, which helps regulate sex hormones)!

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