We don’t cook as much fish around here as we should. After all, we are surrounded by water and have access to fresh seafood all the time. But, in reality, the kids are only just starting to venture into tasting fish and, while I am loath to admit it, our menus usually revolve around what EVERYONE is going to eat. Salmon cakes are not too fishy and they have a great combination of textures (moist on the inside and crispy on the outside), making them a nice stepping stone into more “fishy” dishes. This version is from Use Real Butter, a site with great recipes and beautiful writing & photography of Boulder, CO.
(image and recipe from Use Real Butter)
1 1/4 lbs. fresh salmon filet
1/3 cup white or sourdough bread, crusts removed, chopped or food processed into coarse crumbs
2 tbsps mayonnaise
1/4 cup yellow onion, grated
2 tbsps fresh Italian parsley, chopped
3/4 tsp salt
2 tbsps lemon juice
1/2 cup flour
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup panko (Japanese-style breadcrumbs)
1/2 cup vegetable oil for frying (I used less)
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 tsps fresh dill, chopped
2 tsps lemon juice, fresh squeezed
1/4 tsp salt to taste
2-3 tbsps dill pickle relish or sweet pickle relish (optional)
Make the dill-yogurt sauce: Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and stir until mixed. Store covered in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Make the salmon cakes: Remove the skin from the salmon filet. You can have your fish monger do this, or you can do it yourself. It’s quite easy and Becky Selengut has an excellent video demonstrating her technique for skinning a fish filet. Chop the salmon into 1/4 to 1/3-inch pieces. Mix the salmon, white bread crumbs (not the panko), mayonnaise, onion, parsley, salt, and lemon juice together in a medium bowl. You can make about six 3-inch diameter patties about 3/4-inch wide for a main course or make several smaller patties for appetizer bites. If making larger patties, be careful and patient when handling the patties as they easily come apart. Place the patties on a parchment-lined baking sheet and pop them in the freezer for 15 minutes or more (I went 30 minutes).
When the cakes are ready to come out of the freezer, place the flour in a large shallow bowl, the beaten eggs in a medium bowl, and the panko in another large shallow bowl. Dip each cake into the flour, making sure to coat the entire cake and gently tapping off any excess. Then dip the floured cake into the egg and coat the entire thing. Pockets of flour will peel off – don’t worry – just dip your hand in the egg and “patch” the flour spot on the cake. Finally, coat the cake in the panko crumbs, making sure to cover as much of the cake as possible. Set the cakes on a plate, or if you are freezing for later, set the cakes on a baking sheet and freeze until hard then package in an airtight container (to cook, just double the cooking time if frozen). Heat the vegetable oil in a large frying pan or cast iron skillet over medium high heat. When the oil is hot (drop a panko crumb into the oil – if it sizzles, the oil is ready), carefully add the salmon cakes to the pan. The bottoms should become golden after 2-3 minutes. Gently flip the cakes over and fry for another 2-3 minutes until the remaining side is a dark golden color. Drain on paper towels and serve immediately with dill-yogurt sauce on the side. These can be served as appetizers (individual salmon cakes), on a salad, in a sandwich, or as a main course. Makes 6 salmon cakes or 12-18 mini salmon cakes.