Monday, May 21, 2012

Leftover Salmon? Make Cakes!


With salmon filets and steaks running up toward twenty bucks a pound at the fish counter, this time of year, when I'm craving it, I buy the whole fish, head on, for much less per pound. This way you get the (cleaned) fish, which you can throw on the grill with herbs and lemon stuffed into the cavity. You can also have your fishmonger filet it, or you can slice it into steaks yourself. But any way you choose to cook it, make sure to save the head, fins and tail to make a terrific fish broth for your next risotto or paella.

Cake for breakfast? Oh, yeah!

With out-of-town friends coming over for dinner, and wanting to share some of the crazy goodness of the Northwest, we grilled a whole salmon with a side of wild mushroom risotto and a salad of seasonal greens. Throw in some local red to go with the fish, a fruit crisp made with the last of the frozen berries to top off the meal, and they were putty in our hands. Even with everyone eating their fill, there was a good amount of fish left over…which fit into my clever plan to make salmon cakes for dinner a couple of nights later.

These cakes are great as an appetizer or with a salad for a simple dinner, and they also make a great breakfast with eggs, sautéed greens and a slice of homemade bread. It's not necessary to have all the ingredients—the fish, mayo and eggs are the critical ingredients—so the seasonings can go in any direction you desire. These are meant to be mostly meat, with just enough of the other ingredients to (barely) hold it together.

And if you ever happen to have any leftover smoked salmon (does that really happen?), that would be the gilding on this particular lily.

Salmon Cakes

2 c. cooked salmon, flaked
1-2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
1/4 c. minced red or green onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 serrano pepper, seeded and finely minced
2 Tbsp. cilantro, minced
1/4 c. bread crumbs
Zest of 1 lime

Whisk together and add:
Juice of 1 lime
1 egg

2 Tbsp. olive oil or vegetable oil for frying

Combine salmon with other ingredients (except oil) and mix thoroughly. Form into loose cakes about 2" across. Can be refrigerated at this point, which will firm up the cakes a bit, but it's not necessary. Heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil in medium frying pan until it shimmers. Put cakes in pan, but don't crowd them—do them in batches if necessary. Cook until browned, then carefully flip them over and brown on the other side. Makes about eight cakes.

2 comments:

Lindsay said...

I used this recipe (adapted to suit what I had on hand) to use up some leftover salmon, and it was delicious!

One question: Your narrative mentions mayo being a key ingredient in this recipe, but it's not listed in the ingredients. The cakes turned out great even without mayo, so I'm curious whether mentioning it in the narrative was an error or if it was inadvertently omitted from the ingredient list.

KAB said...

Lindsay, good call! You were right, I forgot to include the mayo. Glad they turned out okay anyway.

I've put the mayo back in the recipe, so let me know if this makes a difference!