1460 updated post view 1951

Shoestring Potato Crusted Spicy Albacore Cakes Bring About A "New Day"


I’m ecstatic. I’m teary-eyed. I’m overwhelmed.

I am speechless.

I attended the Inauguration of Obama, front and center. 900 ft. from the Capitol, with the ability to see the President come out of the red velvet curtain, with my own eyes and not one of the 100’s of jumbotrons scattered throughout the National Mall.

I know this blog is strictly about food and my travels as they relate to food, but I’ve been in DC witnessing history and indulging myself in all the “new era” events. I wanted to share with you what I’d been doing. A full recap of my 4 day trek throughout DC, my real home, can be seen here on Tuesday the 26th. I’ll just share this 1st picture here because it really just captures the peace in which it all happened.

It was absolutely the most beautifully moving event I’ve ever attended.

BUT! No real heart-felt commitment of walking 15 miles in frigid weather, comes easy or unrewarded. After walking for 2 hours, we were starving. I felt the whole in my stomach rapidly growing. We stopped at Potbelly’s, my absolute favorite sandwich joint, and the line was over an hour long. Every Starbucks along our exit route was no better.

So we just kept it moving.

Thank God my mother knows me well. As soon as we made it back home, dinner was waiting! When I’m hungry, I become a vile, ill- mouthed Cubana that can’t be stopped. It’s a chemical imbalance, really, but what can I do? I’ll even admit that I get it from my father.

He’ll tell you otherwise.

Split peas or chicharo with the best flank steak was on the table, waiting to be poured over steamy jasmine rice. I had two solid plate fulls. Green split peas are my absolute favorite. Better than black, red and navy beans, split peas tickle a part of me that causes a jovial reaction. They’re even better when accompanied by croquetas. Interestingly enough, they’re ugly. An utterly unattractive green color, somehow I’m able to overlook the lack of aesthetic appeal. My mother’s recipe calls for butternut squash and Idaho potato. No need to let yo know they’re cooked in a pressure cooker! Tho, any vintage or new cooker will advise NOT to cook split peas in pressure cookers because of their “frothy” destruction. Those little suckers really do split! But good Lawd they are delicious. As with most of the beans I eat, I’ll sometimes for go the rice. Tilting of the bowl, drooling right into my mouth does occur during those times.

And I’m not ashamed to do that anywhere!

Another irony: my mother hates split peas. How could she!?! Ella esta completamente loca! Senseless.

Well, since my mother indulged me on Tuesday, I indulged her this morning before flying back to Atlanta. See, she loves tuna. Any grade of it. She’ll kill for it. Did once, actually in Cabo San Lucas a few years back.

So because we are celebrating a new administration, a new era and a new eating culture in Washington, I decided to make something new for my mother. I won’t boast and claim this is novel. In fact, I’m sure someone has made this somewhere. Probably even better! But I don’t care about how others’ have made it. Doesn’t matter to me. I came up with it last week while in Atlanta and bored with eating plantains for 3 straight days. I mean really, how many different ways can I muster eating that fruit? Even the savory options were testing me. So I pressed forward in pulling out different ingredients.  Ultimately, I was fully satisfied. And so was she and the 5 others that bit into these.


Shoestring potato crusted Albacore cakes! Oh.my.goodness. Talk about a great deviation from Cuban food, which you know is my favorite, hands down! I’ve said over and over again that I am going to dive into other food this year. Chinese wouldn’t be a bad start since my grandfather es Chino. Okay I digress. So these tuna cakes were off the chain! I can see myself making these far more often. Again, nothing over the top or complicated, which is the really nice thing, especially since the non-cook or enthusiast can get their hands dirty with this one.

I think we all know what panko is, right? I’ve made various dishes with this Japanese bread crumb. Even the first batch of these cakes was made with panko. But let’s talk about shoestring potatoes. I really never eat these, don’t care to, but it’s a necessary ingredient in the popular Cuban “pan con bistec”. Our thin steak sandwich must always have these papitas in them. It’s all about the crunch factor. And, I’ll be honest, the only reason I used the shoestring potatoes is because I was entirely too lazy to go to the bodega to get panko. I try to be practical.

But they worked! Like shoving my foot in that 8.5 shoe (1/2 size too big) I recently wore to a resto dinner review, by padding it with cotton balls. It worked!

Now I’ll boast. The cakes were perfectly flavored, the crunch factor was totally there and I was again renewed in my interest to play around with other peoples’ food! It felt good. I felt like a damn genius in being able to open up my cupboards and just come up with food that is really good on the FIRST try! As long as my picky padre didn’t form his lips to say they were too salty, I’m good!

And he didn’t.

Don’t get me wrong here. I’ve made salmon cakes before. A completely different recipe those bad boys were, and certainly nothing so crunchy. In this case, the panko works. The shoestring works. The soy sauce and capers work. And of course, no one over here is questioning whether or not “frying” works.

After my mom devoured all 3, I really felt like the experience of all things new and changing, was complete. All I need now is a kick a** sauce for my new spicy tuna cakes! Suggest one, please, based on the recipe below!



Here’s to new beginnings, new friends, new money, new food tastes, new love, and new hope!



*REVISED ON 1/29/09*

Drain tuna completely. In large mixing bowl, add tuna and fork apart. Add remaining ingredients, except for shoestring potatoes. Combine well. Take a palms worth of tuna mix and make a 3″ patty in your hand. Smooth the edges with your finger. Cover both sides of patties with shoestring potatoes (if not sticking, you can do a light egg wash). In large skillet, heat oil on high (1 cup of oil for deep fryer if you have one; about 1/2 cup for skillet). Using tongs, gently place cakes in oil and cook (pan-fry) on each side for 2 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer to paper towel covered plate and allow oil to drain.

Yields 5-6 cakes!


Red Snapper Escoviche

My 30 Minute Meal, What!?

A Lesson in Pressure Cooking

Carne con Papa (Cuban beef *stew*)

Eat well, love unapologetically, pray with true intention, and take care of yourself.

Follow the sexy & delicious fun on


follow Bren Herrera on Pinterest

Don't forget to check out my debut cookbook!

48 thoughts on “Shoestring Potato Crusted Spicy Albacore Cakes Bring About A "New Day"

  1. I can feel your excitement (lucky you!) about being at the inauguration and I look forward to more posts/photos. BTW, speaking of photos, the tuna burger photo is great! Plus I like the recipe idea…think I’m gonna try it.

  2. Congrats on seeing history in person! wish I could’ve made it to D.C….though I didn’t leave my couch all day n night…I wanted to see every bit of it! Those Tuna Cakes look interesting…will try!

  3. what an amazing day for all. i felt blessed and lucky to be in the warm auditorium at the school i worked for, surrounded by 6th thru 12th grade students who were truely in awe of what they were witnessing on the big screen in front.  i wouldn’t have traded it for anything.  i’m still waiting for the high of it all to end -i hope it doesn’t!

  4. Those cakes sound delish! OMG! BREN HELLO…i’m like totally feelin’ these for the cooking demo in March with the other app.  YUM! What do u think??
    YES Obama…wow. Girl watching them hand in hand walking down Penn Ave…priceless.  Tears…

  5. That must have been quite the experience going to the inauguration! And as to this dish… Well just ready the words had my heart and stomach all in a flutter of excitement. It looks wonderful!

  6. Oh my gosh you were there!! How exciting for you to be part of such a historical day. I cryed just watching the news about it..so touching.  We went to NJ during Christmas time and everyone was talking about the big  inauguration day! We had to get back home or I would have been there with you!  I love your food as usual. My blog is getting healthier..Im trying to focus on exercise and health a little more..will see how long that will last..HA!

  7. It was a crazy day indeed. I wasn’t there but MY Herrera was. Her and her parents got a spot at 6am and froze but say it was worth it.

    Albacore cake things sound great, never thought to make anything like that.

  8. Oh my goodness you all! Being at the inauguration has been the most extraordinary experience of my life so far! Tears of joy were streaming all day! WOW is all I can say. The cakes are all that, really! Try them, love them, eat them, share them and then tell me about it!!

  9. I can’t wait to share our Inaugural homemade movie with you.  My resident Videographer Jordan did a great job documenting our historic journey to the Mall. Yes, tears came pouring down like a stream of water during the swearing-in ceremony as they did on November 4 when our country elected Obama as our next President of the US. 

    If the Albacore cakes are as good as the Tuna Fish recipe I’m all over it. Danielle made us Tuna Fish Sandwhiches from the recipe you taught her to make. OMG 🙂 It was so good. Thanks again for your community service on MLK day and for passing on your cooking skills to the next generation of Muts!!

  10. I never thought you could do that with a can of tuna. Wow! You are so creative. It keeps things exciting in the kitchen. Your future husband will love it! Keep doing your thang shorty.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Theme developed by TouchSize - Premium WordPress Themes and Websites
Show Buttons
Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Linkedin
Share On Pinterest
Share On Youtube
Hide Buttons