Thursday, September 15, 2011

Recipe: Fresh Salmon Cakes with Lemon Mayonnaise

Chance is always powerful. Let your hook always be cast; in the pool where you least expect it, there will be fish. – Ovid 

Fresh caught salmon. Photo: finnur.malquist, Flickr ccl
Fish is supposed to be on your family's menu twice each week according to the Canada Food Guide. Salmon is one of the preferred species listed. It's a shame it's so expensive...

If you adhere to that publication (which you really should) you may soon find yourself in the same position as did I. Same old recipe ideas popping into your head, over and over and over. Boring and repetitive, to say the least.

Photo: VirtualErn, Flickr ccl
Every once in a while, like the Ovid quote above, you have to take a chance. I had never made, or even eaten, a “fresh” fish cake. Mechanically separated, pulverized mush was my norm, and I always purchased them pre-made. Yum.

Shame on me. Fish cakes are quite easy, especially if you opt to make them with canned fish flakes. There’s no chilling involved. Mix, shape, bread and fry. But really, who would do that when you can make them from fresh fish?

These are a "one per person" sized fish cake, but I have to admit I ate two. Sometimes I'm a bit of a pig, or maybe I was solidifying in my mind my thoughts about them before In wrote for you... We'll say the latter.

I have to admit these area bit messy, but they're easier to handle if you use a spatula to help in breading them. I think the result is really worth the minimal effort. I’ve never had anything like these before.

One last word to the wise: You have to separate the skin from the salmon to chop the flesh. Make sure whatever cut you buy has as little skin as possible. I tried to save money and bought two tail sections. There was lots of skin and it took an eternity to remove.

Fresh Salmon Cakes with Lemon Mayonnaise
Prep: about 1 hr 20 min, including chilling  |  Cook 8 min  |  Serves 4
1-1/2 lb (680 g) salmon, skinned and boned
1 cup grated fresh bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated onion
1/4 cup flour
1 egg
1 tbsp fresh tarragon, or 1 tsp dried
1 cup mayonnaise + 2 tbsp
3/4 tsp salt

Bound Panko breading
1/2 cup flour
1 egg, beaten
1-1/2 cups Panko crumbs
1/4 cup grapeseed or vegetable oil (not olive)

Lemon mayonnaise
1 cup your favourite mayonnaise
2-3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp fresh tarragon, or 1 tsp dried
dash of Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper
1 tsp grated lemon rind (optional)

Patties ready to fry.
Chop salmon into a rough mince* and mix in a bowl with the grated bread, onion, flour, egg, tarragon, 2 tbsp mayonnaise and salt in bowl. Mix with your hands to combine. Try to force all the ingredients together as best you can. The mixture will be very wet.

Divide the mixture into 4 equal parts and shape each one with your hands into a patty about 1/2 - 3/4” thick. As you make the patties place them on individual saran wrap squares. Freeze the patties for 1 hour.

Just before the hour is up, set up the remaining ingredients for the bound breading. Place the flour on one plate, the beaten eggs in another and the Panko crumbs in a third. Dip the chilled salmon patties in the flour and shake off any excess. Then place them in the egg and then the Panko. As you work, place the breaded patties on parchment.

Heat the oil in large heavy skillet. Once hot, add the salmon patties and cook until golden brown on both sides, about 4 minutes per side. 

Make the lemon mayonnaise by combining all the listed ingredients in a bowl.

Serve the hot salmon cakes with the lemon mayonnaise atop a green salad previously drizzled with your favourite vinaigrette. My vinaigrette was blueberry tarragon, from my post two days ago.

*In hindsight I would probably cut the fillets into a dice and then gently pulse in a food processor to mince. That would be quicker and easier, and would render differing sizes of fish chunks.


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1 comment:

  1. Oh Darrell, my dear sweet mamma used to make me salmon cakes every time she came to visit. When I say I love salmon cakes most people look at me strangely because they have never had them. Thanks for the recipe. I might not ever have her salmon cakes but I'll still be smiling when I attempt to make them. I love your blog! Love it! You need to write a book.