Even though we've all been living through the sticker shock of rising grocery costs, it's still very possible to eat well on a budget, especially when there's a can of tuna in the pantry. No, you don't have to eat tuna sandwiches every day (even though that might not be so bad). Instead, you can easily make a can of tuna into a batch of tuna patties. It only takes a few ingredients to transform standard-issue tuna into a gourmet appetizer or burger. Sometimes, however, it can be hard to get everything to stick together long enough to cook them. If you find that your tuna patties tend to fall apart, you don't need to start over or add more tuna: You just need to add an extra egg to the batch.
Tuna from a can or pouch is usually one of three kinds of fish: albacore, yellowfin, or skipjack, all of which are pretty soft and flaky when they're packaged. Sometimes, even if you follow a recipe for tuna patties that includes eggs, they'll still fall apart. Adding an extra egg won't change the flavor of your tuna patties, it'll simply give you more sticking power when it comes time to cook them.
Eggs Have Binding Power
Most of the time, when patties are made from animal protein, it's typically some sort of uncooked meat. Burger patties, for example, or salmon cakes, are made with raw beef or fish. This is because when meat is uncooked, it's easier for them to hold together since the raw proteins glom onto each other and keep the patty sticky. Then, when they're cooked, the proteins harden and stick together. This isn't the case with tuna patties made with canned tuna because the meat is already cooked. If you were making patties from raw tuna, you'd have a little more sticking power from the uncooked proteins, but since the fish is already cooked, they tend to fall apart when you get them on the stove. To fix the problem, you just need to add a little extra raw protein, and the easiest place to get a protein fix is from an egg.
Adding an egg to a batch of tuna patties is a little extra insurance that things will stay together, especially if you tend to measure your other ingredients by eyeballing them. All you have to do is mix the egg with your other ingredients, and when the patty starts to cook, instead of falling apart, it will firm up and come together as the proteins coagulate, according to The Accidental Scientist.
More Tuna Patty Troubleshooting
For most cases of crumbling tuna patties, a little extra egg protein is all you need. There are other ways you can troubleshoot, however, if an egg isn't enough to keep your patties in one piece. It's a good idea to add a little extra breadcrumbs or whatever your recipe uses for a binder when you add your egg, for example. Breadcrumbs will absorb some moisture from the mixture, which will firm things up before you cook anything and make it easier to form solid patties.
It's also a good idea to chill your tuna patty mixture in the fridge for about 20 minutes before you do any cooking. This will help them stick together better and keep them firm while you're cooking and flipping your patties on the stove or the grill.
If you're really having a hard time keeping your patties together, even after adding an egg and breadcrumbs and chilling the mixture down, make sure that you're draining the tuna properly before mixing it with other ingredients. Squeeze out every drop of oil or water that you can manage so that the protein in the eggs has something to stick to when you mix it in with the fish. And if all else fails, you can always use a sheet pan to cook your patties so that you don't have to do a lot of flipping on the stovetop.
Read the original article on Daily Meal.