Two Years Ago: Forbidden Rice with Turkey, Roasted Squash and Walnuts
I came across a salmon cake recipe the other day that looked interesting, but I thought it might be a little bland made with plain old salmon. Since The Lawyer has a smoker I asked him to smoke some salmon, thinking that would make them more interesting. And were they ever! The results were outstanding and the mild horseradish sauce made them even better.
If you don't want to smoke your own salmon, it's readily available in most stores. Look for it in vacuum-sealed packages at the seafood counter. Just be sure to buy hot-smoked salmon, not cold-smoked. You can tell the difference just by looking at it - hot-smoked salmon is darkened from the smoke and is sold as a chunk. Cold-smoked salmon is much lighter in color (it almost looks uncooked) and is sold as an entire fillet, typically thinly sliced. Hot-smoked salmon has a more pronounced smoke flavor and a meatier texture which makes it perfect for the salmon cakes.
The key is to treat the salmon like you would treat lump crab meat - gently. Break it into coarse flakes with your hands, then mix and shape the cakes gently so you don't break the flakes up. Because there's very little binder, treat the cakes gently in the pan also - using two spatulas to turn them (one on top, one on the bottom.)
This meal comes together very quickly and it's healthy if you go easy on the horseradish sauce. The Lawyer and I were so impressed with this dish that we agreed it would be appropriate for our Gourmet Club - high praise indeed.
Smoked Salmon Cakes
For the sauce:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon capers
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves plus additional for the salad
1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
For the salmon cakes:
18 ounces hot-smoked salmon
1 1/3 cups panko bread crumbs
2 eggs, beaten
2 rounded teaspoons Old Bay seasoning blend
½ small red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
3 tablespoons fresh chives, finely chopped
3 tablespoons fresh dill, finely chopped plus additional for the salad
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1-2 teaspoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
Lemon wedges, for serving
To make the sauce, combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate covered until ready to serve.
For the salmon cakes, break the salmon apart into coarse flakes using your hands. (Make sure there aren’t any bones as you’re doing this.) In a large mixing bowl, combine salmon, bread crumbs, eggs, Old Bay, red pepper, chives, dill, hot sauce and lemon zest (not lemon juice). Mix together gently with your hands, then form into 8 patties. Place in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes to firm up.
Heat a large fry pan over medium heat, then add the vegetable oil. Place the salmon cakes in the pan and fry on the first side until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes. Gently flip over (using two spatulas, one on top and one on bottom) and fry 3-4 minutes more until browned on the second side. Remove to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain for a minute.
Toss salad greens with the lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper.
To plate, divide salad green among plates and top with additional parsley leaves and chopped dill. Place two salmon cakes on each plate and serve with lemon wedges and the sauce on the side.