Great Balls of Salmon

Here fishy, fishy, fishy…Big time fish cooking going on around here lately. Allow me to explain.

Miko, the 3 year old lab-we-suspect-is-crossed-with-a-Weimeraner is a stinker. We were in a sort of denial about it – ok, I was in denial – but hearing my mom shriek, “Jennifer!! This dog stinks!!” whenever we went to visit pushed me over the edge. Hank has always, blessedly, been an unscented dog. Sure, his paws have a whiff of the familiar cheesy corn tortilla smell once in a while, but that’s about it. I personally like, and am comforted by Dorito paws, am I alone in that??

I think we all feel personal embarrassment whenever our dogs aren’t perfectly behaved and groomed. Yes, my dogs drool when there’s food around, yes they beg and linger in the kitchen, and yes, they bark at any dogs walking by the house, or any person with backpack, umbrella, glasses, hat, a random ski pole (I’m dying to ask the lady what the deal is), and always at the paper boy who has been delivering the paper here three times a week for over a year now. Despite all this, The Boys are such good looking & loving souls that I’ve been able to pretend that everyone is so charmed that they’re able overlook their less desirable traits. But could they overlook…THE STANK?

There was seeminngly no way to disguise THE STANK. A stinky dog smell clinging on to poor little Miko, like the perpetual cloud of dirt around Pig-Pen. Bathing and other grooming activities weren’t doing the trick for more than a day. Shampoo! Wipes! Foam! Spritzers! Apple Cider Vinegar!! Nothing worked. So, I set about trying to solve THE STANK through dietary change. I figured that since the key to a dog’s healthy coat is rooted in having healthy skin and a big part of healthy skin is related to diet – perhaps I could increase some of the foods in Miko’s diet that promote healthy skin. I had been researching this for our March column, Cures for your Hairy Home. Mega omega’s like eggs, flax and my fave – fish like Salmon – are skin/coat boosters. Flax – so easy to sprinkle on top of anything, and salmon, well, they do love their salmon. While I had been incorporating it twice a week, I decided to try giving it to Miko almost everyday – not tons, but some. So I needed to develop a recipe for something salmon that could go alongside his meatloaf “staple” meals.

And then it hit me…goodness gracious great balls of Salmon!! Roll your eyes if you must, but simply naming them “Salmon Balls” just begs for people to say “I didn’t know salmon had –“. At least that’s what I’d say. So Great Balls of Salmon it is!

1 1/2 cups cooked salmon (poached, baked, etc.)
I cup cooked brown rice
1 egg
1 tbs sesame oil
1 tbs ground ginger

1/4 cup white sesame seeds
1/4 cup black sesame seeds

I’m not going to explain here how to cook salmon or cook brown rice because it’s pretty basic. Although I haven’t tested it – but I will – I suspect that a large can of salmon would work as well as a cooked filet. I just don’t like the smell of canned salmon, personally. I buy the frozen wild salmon for The Boys – the filets run about $6.00 each although they go on sale for $4 or $5 fairly often. For our upcoming “Dog Dinners on a Dime” episode, we feature a recipe for a Super Salmon Supper and Laura shopped the flyers and bought these frozen wild filets that portion into 4 for for $4 each! Very affordable.

I had my food processor out already, so in the interest of time and ease, I used it. However, all of the ingredients in this recipe are “soft” and it would not be difficult to simply combine all ingredients (except for sesame seeds) in a bowl and mix well. I dumped all of the ingredients into the processor and hit low for about 2 minutes. Spoon the mixture into a bowl. Have at the ready your sesame seeds for rolling.

Using a large spoon, begin to form balls of salmon. Simply roll each ball in sesame seeds – Yields appx. five white and five black balls.

Bake in the oven at 350 for 15 minutes. These are delicious – not just dog food people, but a very healthy bite for peeps too!

As for THE STANK – I swear, this worked for Miko. He barely has a scent anymore. Of course, there could be other factors, this isn’t a controlled study after all – but for this guy, it seems to have worked. I’m sure there are other unknown factors – but from my nose to yours, he’s not so Stanky!!

For an amazing fish dinner – check out the Georgian Bay Whitefish on a bed of roasted mash and charred green beans from Fido & Wine’s “At the Beach”. GB Whitefish can easily be switched out with Pickerel, Bass, Perch.

I’m neither a vet nor an animal nutritionist.  This recipe is not meant to replace a proper and balanced diet for your dog.  You should to speak to your own vet before trying new recipes or feeding any home cooked foods to your dog.