CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Salmon Loaf With Creamed Peas and Potatoes

There are some foods that are made to go together. Bacon and eggs. Peanut butter and jelly. Hamburgers and fries. Macaroni and cheese. Mashed potatoes and gravy.

I’d like to add another combo to the list: Salmon loaf with creamed peas and potatoes, a pairing that’s been part of my food repertoire since my youth.

As are many of the foods that I enjoy, this one was one that my mother used to make. I don’t recall if my brothers were so fond of it. But that didn’t matter because it was a favorite of my dad.

Fortunately for me, I married a woman who shares a lot of my tastes in food, and salmon loaf with creamed peas and potatoes is one of them.

The other night, Therese and I dined on this combo, along with some freshly sliced tomatoes and a few garden cucumbers in vinegar.

For me, it’s a meal made heaven, tasty as well as being fairly nutritious. (The salmon is high in omega-3 fatty acids, cucumbers  an excellent source of vitamin K and tomatoes are the major dietary source of the antioxidant lycopene, which has been linked to many health benefits, including reduced risk of heart disease and cancer.)

Now there’s a combination that’s not hard to crack!

Salmon Loaf
1 1-pound can salmon
1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ cup saltine cracker crumbs
2 eggs
1 cup milk
Drain liquid from salmon. Remove bones. Mix salmon and cracker crumbs with a fork until fine; add lemon juice. In a measuring cup, mix eggs with a fork, then fill the cup with milk. Mix well and add to salmon. Mix and put in a greased 2½-by-5-by-8½-inch pan and bake for 50 minutes. Serve with cream peas and potatoes (recipe follows).

Creamed Peas and Potatoes
4 medium red potatoes
1 to 2 cups frozen peas
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1¼ cups milk, heated
Freshly ground pepper
Cut the potatoes in quarters and steam or boil them, reserving water.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until paste cooks and bubbles a bit for about 2 minutes (but don’t let it brown). Add the milk, continuing to stir as the sauce thickens. Bring it to a boil. Add salt and pepper to taste, lower heat and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.
Pour sauce over potatoes and then add peas. Heat until warm. If you want a thinner sauce, add some of the reserved potato water.

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