Salmon Cakes

These go wonderfully well with a handful of baby arugula drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil, finished with a pinch of kosher salt. It is a beautiful, tasty way to round out a main with very little effort. I always think of it as “Marcella’s Salad”, because she introduced it to us in Florence, Italy.

For the cakes, if you have lemon, use it. It brightens the flavor nicely. As for the parsley or cilantro, I like dried better than fresh because they add flavor without really shouting their presence. Of course, I highly recommend the red pepper. It just makes the taste buds tingle in a very delightful way!

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 0hr 20mins
  • Difficulty: Easy
1/2 cup (2 1/2 ounces) finely diced white or yellow onion Add to a 3-quart bowl.

Tip: With onion on its side, cut off and discard both ends. Cut in half from pole to pole, peel off any dry/tough layers; discard. Place cut sides down and slice to 1/8 inch, holding the pieces together as you work. Cut across slices to dice. 

Finely diced onion adds nice texture as well as great flavor, whereas roughly diced onion interferes with the cake’s ability to stay together during shaping.
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (optional)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, coarse ground
1 teaspoon parsley or cilantro flakes
1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper or paprika
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon roughly ground black pepper
Add all to the bowl; whisk together until uniform in color.

Tip: Cut a lemon in half at the equator, place cut sides down and quarter. Juice with a citrus squeezer held over a mesh strainer to catch seeds.

Lemon juice brightens the flavor. Cayenne pepper adds a zippy undertone and a hint of color, but paprika may be used as a milder substitute.
2 cups (4 ounces) white bread crumbs Roughly tear up bread; pulse in a food processor until fine. Distribute crumbs over the egg mixture. Bread crumbs help create light, moist cakes.
14-15 ounces canned wild Atlantic salmon (do not strain) Add salmon to the egg mixture. Cut in with a pastry blender or 2 forks until there is no dry bread and the salmon is completely broken up. Cutting in prevents compression, keeping the cakes light.
2 teaspoons unsalted butter, or Ghee Circulate butter/ghee in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat to evenly coat the base. As it begins to foam (2-3 minutes), promptly form 4 salmon balls with a 2 1/2-inch ice cream scoop, pressing against the bowl to pack and level the measures; release directly into the pan 1 inch apart. Promptly flatten each to 3/4 inch with the bottom of a spatula; cook until deeply browned and firmed, about 5 minutes each side. Repeat for 4 final cakes. Preheating discourages sticking and promotes food searing (rapid browning).Ghee adds great flavor, has low PUFAs, sports a high smoke point (485°F), and leaves less residue than oil.

Testing Notes: Worcestershire sauce muddied the flavor instead of brightening it. We tried dill and basil as options and did not care for either.

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