When I created this recipe for salmon cakes, I couldn’t help but think of the ones my mom and stepdad used to make when I was growing up, which they called “salmon croquettes.”
I suspect the recipe came from the deep recesses of some 1950s dinner party guide. It was a meal we had fairly often, never with fresh salmon. I didn’t see any fresh salmon until I moved to the UK in 2001 (and, oh, how I loved the fishmonger, who would fillet the giant, red heap right in front of you, to your specification!). And I didn’t realize until I made these that the ones I grew up eating were always burned.
As you may’ve noticed, we’ve been eating more fish around here lately, so I decided to diversify my repertoire from baked lemon and herb fillets to fish cakes! Since Eric spent five years in Baltimore, I thought these would be right up his alley, and I was right. They were a big hit, especially with my quick, spicy, and creamy relish sauce. I served these with my Pecan-Stuffed Delicata Squash, and we were so full.
Stella’s Salmon Croquettes
4 heaping Tbsp coconut oil
~1 lb cooked salmon (I baked a large, de-boned fillet)*
1 cup Italian bread crumbs (fine)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 heaping tsp Old Bay
1 tsp dried dill
1/2 bell pepper, finely chopped
1 tsp Tabasco sauce
1 lemon, zest and juice
Stella’s Spicy Fish Sauce
1/2 cup real mayonnaise
1 Tbsp horseradish sauce
1/2 cup Cholula or Tabasco sauce (the latter is spicier)
1 heaping tsp pickle relish
1. Wash your hands. In a medium mixing bowl, mix cooked salmon and breadcrumbs with your hands.
2. Add eggs and mix lightly until evenly absorbed. Add Old Bay, dill, peppers, and lemon zest and juice. Mix again with your hands until well combined. If the mixture is too clumpy, add a little water; if it’s too wet, add more breadcrumbs.
3. Using your hands, roll mixture into balls and flatten. Each one should be about one inch thick and about three inches in diameter. You’ll have about eight cakes. Place each one on a plate as they are formed and set aside.
4. Melt coconut oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Gently slide each cake into the pan and fry about five minutes on each side until crispy, golden brown. You may want to add additional oil as you fry; make sure it’s hot before adding the next round of cakes. As they are done, remove them to a plate and place them between paper towels to drain and cool.
5. Meanwhile, combine the sauce ingredients in a measuring cup and stir vigorously until well combined.
6. Once the croquettes are all done, serve immediately with a generous drizzle of the spicy sauce.
A nice, simple side salad with vinegar and oil dressing complements this meal perfectly.
These will keep for a couple of days if refrigerated, and can be reheated. Be careful not to overcook, or they will become rubbery. For best results, reheat in an oven for ten minutes at 300°.
Pictured here with Pecan-Stuffed Delicata Squash.
* Brush your salmon with a little olive oil or melted butter and bake for about about 20 minutes at 400° in a very lightly oiled baking pan or Pyrex dish, skin side down. When it’s done, it will be pink and flaky. If using several smaller pieces of fish, the baking time will be less.
You can also used canned fish if you want to be more authentically East Texas! Use about 16 ounces of quality canned salmon.