One dish that gives me vivid flashbacks to hovering over my mom in the kitchen as a kid, is Salmon Cakes. I can still hear her yelling at me to “get away from that pan!”
THERE IS NO CAKE IN THE RECIPE, NOR ANYTHING SWEET.
I HAVE NO IDEA WHY MY FAMILY CALLS THEM SALMON CAKES.
Or salmon patties, or salmon croquettes – whatever you call them, if you’ve had one before then you know that they’re so good, you can’t just eat one.
I actually hated making these for a while. Growing up, these were made with canned salmon. My mother was always able to mask the metallic-y flavor that came with canned salmon. When I would cook them though, I could not get that icky taste out. One day my mom said, “You know you can just use cooked salmon too?” My mind was blown.
Using fresh baked salmon was a game changer. When using a fresh filet of salmon, you don’t have to go through the trouble of de-boning the fish. The bones of salmon become very soft when cooked and are in rich in calcium, so you can eat them! No, they do not get stuck in your throat and you will not even notice them, I promise.
I usually bake the fish the day before just because it’s less work to do. Keep in mind that fresh fish stays good in the fridge for up to two days, and cooked fish stays good for two days also.
Basically after baking the fish and removing the skin, you’re just throwing everything in a bowl and stirring it up! It really is that easy.
In order to get the cakes to hold well while frying, I put them on a sheet pan and then place them in the freezer for 15 minutes. You don’t want them frozen solid. Take them out of the freezer and let them sit for about 6 minutes before frying.
Cooking the Cakes
I guess maybe these aren’t the healthiest because they are pan fried in a bit of oil, BUT pan frying them gives them a great crispy exterior.
You want to coat a pan with oil and have the salmon cakes partially submerged, about a little less than half way. If you put more oil than that, they will fall a part and become a soggy oily mess.
Aioli to Top It Off
Regular aioli is made with a egg yolk base but I prefer an easier method. I have a cheaters aioli recipe which substitutes the egg for mayo. For a nice sauce to go on top of the salmon cakes, I toss some mayo, a little bit of ketchup, dash of lemon juice and Old Bay Seasoning together. Because I just throw it together, I’m guilty of never writing it down, but a rough recipe would be
– 1/2 cup mayo
– 1/2 Tbsp ketchup
– 1/4 tsp lemon juice and
– sprinkle in Old Bay until it’s at your liking.
- Frying Pan
- A plate with 4-5 paper towels on it – to catch the oil from the Salmon Cakes
- 1.5-2lbs Fillet of fresh Salmon
- 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
- Salt & pepper
- Olive Oil
- 1 Cup Celery, chopped
- 3/4 Cup Yellow Onion, chopped
- 1 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1 tsp Onion Powder
- 1/2 tsp Paprika
- 1 tsp Dried Oregano
- 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
- 1 tsp Salt
- 3 Tbsp Flour
- 2 Cups Panko
- 2 Eggs
- Vegetable Oil or Avocado Oil
- Heat oven to 400°F
- Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil. Add the fresh salmon. Coat the salmon with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Rub the minced garlic on the fish, then add salt and pepper.
- Place the sheet pan with the fish in the oven. Allow it to bake for 12-14 minutes, or until it is a light pink color inside and out. Remove from oven and let the salmon cool.
- When the salmon has cooled, remove the skin from the fillet. |Flake the salmon apart with your hands or a fork (see photos above).
- Add the salmon and all ingredients, EXCEPT THE EGGS, to a bowl and mix until all ingredients are incorporated.
- Whisk the eggs together and then pour the eggs over the salmon + other ingredient mixture.
- Scoop some of the salmon out of the bowl and begin forming the cakes with your hands. Once all cakes are formed, align them on a sheet pan. Place the pan in the freezer for about 15 minutes.
- While the salmon cakes are forming, add the vegetable oil to a pan. See photos to see how much oil should be added. Remember don't completely submerge the salmon cakes in oil.
- Take salmon cakes out of freezer and let them sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes.While the salmon cakes are sitting, turn the heat of the oil on medium and let it heat up.*
- Add a few salmon cakes at a time, careful not to overcrowd the pan. Let each cake fry for about 3-4 minutes on each side, or until they're golden brown (see photos).
- When the salmon cakes are done, remove them from pan and add them to a plate covered with paper towel to soak up any remaining oil.
- Serve over salad with an aioli or as appetizer!