Simplest Salmon Cakes

I love salmon and I know that it is awesomely good for you, but sometimes I get sick of eating it just baked or grilled. This recipe is a great way to change it up, especially in the winter when you desire something a little more comforting. Just pre-bake the fish until barely cooked through and then mix with some simple, fish-friendly ingredients.  The crispy breadcrumbs and the tangy capers make a great contrast to the rich salmon.

Simplest Salmon Cakes

Salmon Cakes:

1.5 # fresh salmon

olive oil

1 large or 2 small bunch(es) scallions, white and light green parts only, chopped

1 egg, lightly beaten

3 Tbsp. best-quality mayonnaise or sour cream

2 Tbsp. whole grain mustard

2 Tbsp. capers, roughly chopped

handful of chopped fresh dill

3/4 C. breadcrumbs (or use almond flour)

S & P

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Place the salmon, skin side down, on a foil-lined sheet pan. Sprinkle with a little salt and bake for 12-16 minutes, or until just cooked through. A thinner tail piece (1/2”) will take less time while a thicker belly piece (1”) will take a few minutes longer.

Set the fish aside to cool for 15 minutes and then transfer the salmon to a large bowl, flaking it into big chunks.  I find it is easiest to slide a spatula between the fish and the skin and pull it away in a few large pieces.  Then break it up a little more with your fingers.

Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat and coat lightly with olive oil. Saute the scallions for 2-3 minutes, sprinkling them with salt, until softened and starting to brown lightly. Set aside to cool.

Once the salmon has cooled, add the cooked scallions, egg, sour cream, mustard, capers, and dill.  Sprinkle with a little more salt and crack in some fresh pepper.  Stir together gently but thoroughly until well combined.  Fold in the breadcrumbs and return to the fridge until ready to fry the salmon cakes. They will be much easier to form when the mixture is cold.  You can prepare the recipe up until this point and refrigerate to be cooked the next day.

If you’ve never made salmon cakes (or fish or crab cakes) before, consider forming them all in advance to simplify the process. I like my cakes about 1 & 1/2 inch across and about 3/4 inch thick.  When forming them, squeeze the mixture together firmly without squishing the cake. They don’t need to be perfect! As long as they have two flat sides they will brown up just fine.

Preheat the oven to 300 and preheat a large saute pan over medium heat.  Add enough olive oil to thoroughly coat the bottom of the pan.  Cook 5 or 6 cakes at a time, leaving at least an inch of space between each.  Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side.The oil should bubble out from underneath the cakes, but if the cakes are getting too dark, reduce the heat.  Once brown on both sides, transfer the cooked cakes to the oven to stay warm.

Serve with homemade tartar or remoulade sauce or even just with some additional sour cream.

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