From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...I had about a 1/2 pound of salmon left after my holiday cooking spree. It wasn't enough to make any of the dishes we usually enjoy, but I was determined to use it up and I wanted to find a recipe that turned a very small quantity of salmon into something unusual and delicious. I did some searching and finally settled on a recipe for the most pedestrian use of salmon, the ubiquitous salmon cake. While I had to sacrifice the unusual portion of my quest, I ended up with something really delicious. As it turned out, these cakes aren't anything like the dreadful canned creations remembered from so long ago. So, I'm going to ask you to put the can opener away, replace it with a chef's knife and prepare your taste buds for a real, if simple, treat. The recipe I found was developed by Ina Garten and it is chock full of ingredients that pack these cakes with flavor. I basically followed the recipe as it was written. The few changes I made were the result of necessity rather than intent. While I used some already poached salmon and did away with the yellow pepper called for in the recipe, I still ended up with delicious cakes. I heartily recommend this recipe to you. It is an easy, if time consuming, way to turn a small quantity of fish into something really memorable. Avoid the temptation to add more bread crumbs than the recipe calls for. If the mixture seems too soft to form, stick it in the freezer until it holds its shape and when you cook the the cakes make sure the bottom has crusted before you flip them over.These demand to be served warm. They are so flavorful you won't need a sauce to accompany them. I served ours with roasted potatoes and the first sweet corn of the year. It was a really nice meal. Here's the recipe I used for the salmon cakes.
Salmon Cakes...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Ina Garten
1/2 pound fresh salmon
4 tablespoons olive oil + olive oil to brush salmon
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup small-diced red onion
1-1/2 cups small-diced celery
1/2 cup small-diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup small-diced yellow bell pepper
1/4 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon capers, drained
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce (i.e.Tabasco)
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1-1/2 teaspoons crab boil (i.e. Old Bay) seasoning or see Cook's Notes below
3 to 4 slices stale bread, crusts removed
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2) Place salmon on a sheet pan, skin side down. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, until just cooked. Remove from the oven and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Allow to rest for 10 minutes and refrigerate until cold.
3) Meanwhile, place 2 tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoons olive oil, onion, celery, red and yellow bell peppers, parsley, capers, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, crab boil seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a large saute pan over medium-low heat and cook until the vegetables are soft, approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Cool to room temperature.
4) Break bread slices in pieces and process in a food processor. Spread crumbs in a single layer on bottom of a cookie sheet. Toast in oven for 5 minutes until lightly brown, tossing occasionally.
5) Flake chilled salmon into a large bowl. Add 1 cup bread crumbs, mayonnaise, mustard, and eggs. Add vegetable mixture and mix well. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Shape into 10 cakes of equal size.
6) Heat remaining 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add 5 salmon cakes to pan and fry for 4 minutes per side, until browned. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Keep warm in a 250 degree F oven while remainder of salmon cakes are fried. Serve warm. Yield: 10 salmon cakes.
Cook's Notes - Crab boil is a spice mixture used to flavor the water in which crabs or other shellfish are boiled. If you are unable to purchase it, this homemade mixture can be substituted.
Old Bay-like Seasoning
1 tablespoon ground dried bay leaves
2 teaspoons celery salt
1-1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
1-1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 teaspoon sweet or smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground celery seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground mace
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly. Store in an airtight container and store in a cool place. Use with seafood or chicken. Makes about 1/4 cup.
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