Salmon Cakes, like crab cakes, are a quintessential favorite for casual summer entertaining.
Plump cakes of lightly poached salmon, scallions, dill and lemon, lightly fried to golden crunchy perfection. The beauty of these salmon cakes is that they can be prepared well in advance and fried at the last minute. Serve with a zesty charred eggplant salsa, or a sauce of choice.
This is zesty summer fare that beats the heat and is sure to please.
Poaching the salmon:
- 1 pound center cut fresh side of salmon (skinless and deboned)
- 2 cups water + more to cover salmon as needed
- 1 cup dry white wine
- ½ cup diced onions
- 8 juniper berries
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 sprigs fresh dill leaves
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
Ideally, select a wide sauce pan large enough to hold the salmon in one piece. Fill the pan with 2 cups of water. Add the wine, onions, juniper berries, bay leaf, dill, and peppercorns . Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.
Add the salmon to the poaching liquid and enough additional water to cover the salmon completely. Once the liquid comes back to a boil, cook 1 minute and then turn off the heat. This insures that the salmon will be just barely cooked, tender, and moist. Let the salmon sit in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove from the poaching liquid and set aside to cool. Once cool gently flake the salmon into bite size pieces, place in a bowl, cover, and refrigerate until you are ready to make the salmon cakes.
Making the Salmon Cakes makes 8 2 ½ inch cakes, serving 4
- flaked poached salmon
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons finely sliced scallions
- 2 tablespoons chopped dill sprigs
- 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon sea salt, or more to taste
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
- 1 organic egg 1 teaspoon dried mustard powder
- 3 tablespoons Greek style yogurt
- 1 cup unseasoned bread crumbs
- ¼ cup polenta
- olive oil for frying
- lemon wedges for serving
In a large bowl combine the mayonnaise, scallions, dill, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and cayenne and mix until well combined. Gently fold in the flaked salmon. Scatter ¼ cup bread crumbs over the mixture.
Whisk together the egg, mustard powder, and yogurt, and fold into the salmon mixture until well combined. Cover the bowl with cling film and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or place in the freezer for 30 minutes if you are in a hurry.
Mix the remaining ¾ cup bread crumbs and the polenta together and place in a wide soup plate.
Remove the salmon mixture from the fridge or freezer. Using a 1/3 cup measure, scoop out a portion of the salmon cake mixture and gently form into a plump round cake. Promptly dredge in the breadcrumb mixture, coating all sides, and place the salmon cake on a parchment lined tray. Repeat until all the cakes are prepared.
Up to this point the salmon cakes can be prepared ahead, covered with cling film and refrigerated or frozen.
Chill for at least 30 minutesbefore frying or overnight for later use.
If you freeze the salmon cakes, thaw them out in the refrigerator until they are completely thawed before frying.
Preheat the oven to 325F/165C
Place a skillet over medium/ medium low heat and add enough olive oil to generously cover the inner surface. Once the oil begins to slide easily in the bottom of the skillet add 4 salmon cakes and fry just until they begin to release from the bottom of the pan; about 2 minutes. Gently flip the cakes and fry another minute or so, watching the heat so the cakes just lightly color without burning.
Promptly transfer to a parchment lined baking tray and continue frying the remaining salmon cakes.
Place the salmon cakes in the oven for 10 minutes.
Serve with fresh lemon wedges and, as suggested, with charred eggplant salsa
(see here), or a sauce of your choice.