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Creole Salmon Cakes

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Serves four.

Yields eight cakes.

The relish that accompanies these slightly spicy cakes reminds me of the pickley olive salad you get in a New Orleans muffuletta sandwich; in fact, as a variation, I like to make salmon cake sandwiches.

  • 1 lb. raw salmon fillets (preferably wild), skin and pin bones removed, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 Tbs. country-style (grainy, but not whole-grain) Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 tsp. hot sauce, preferably Crystal Hot Sauce
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • Giardiniera Relish 
For the sandwich variation:
  • 4 5- to 6-inch hoagie or sub rolls or lengths of soft French or Italian bread from a baguettetype loaf (the bread shouldn’t be too dense nor the crust too crunchy)
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise, or to taste
Tip:
To make mini cakes, portion the mixture into 24 small mounds (about 3/4 oz. each), gently shape into cakes, and cook until nicely browned on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes total.

Put the salmon in a food processor and pulse until chopped medium coarse, two or three 1-second pulses. Take care not to overprocess. There should still be some chunky pieces; you don’t want a completely smooth purée. In a medium bowl, lightly beat the egg. Add the salmon and combine with a rubber spatula. Add the mustard, lemon zest, hot sauce, 1-1/2 tsp. kosher salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper; mix until well combined. Cover the bowl with plastic and chill for at least 30 minutes or up to 4 hours.

Remove the salmon mixture from the refrigerator, turn it out onto a baking sheet, and portion it into eight equal mounds. With wet hands, gently shape each mound into a 2-1/2-inch-wide patty. Sprinkle a pinch of the thyme on both sides of each cake.

Heat the olive oil in a large (12-inch) nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the cakes and reduce the heat to medium. Cook the cakes, turning once, until nicely browned on both sides and the interior no longer looks raw, 5 to 6 minutes total cooking time. Be careful not to overcook the cakes. Transfer the cakes to a plate and cover to keep them warm. Serve hot, with the giardiniera relish on the side.

Variations

To make sandwiches, slice each roll in half and pull out a little bit of the insides. Spread some mayonnaise on the bottom halves of each roll, and place two salmon cakes over each bottom half. Scoop some of the giardiniera relish over the top halves of the rolls, including some of the juices, and gently press the two sides of each sandwich together. Cut each sandwich in half and serve.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on four servings without garnishes; Calories (kcal): 270; Fat (g): fat g 17; Fat Calories (kcal): 150; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 2.5; Protein (g): protein g 28; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 8; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 1; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 4; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 580; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 125; Fiber (g): fiber g 1;

Photo: Scott Phillips

Variation: I mixed dried thyme in to the salmon mix, and then coated the cakes in panko flakes before pan frying. Turned our really good and had a flavorful crunch too. Served it with hot sauce and mayo with a little dill and lemon!

I've made this recipe twice now, and both times have been extremely pleased with the result. I've served them with remoulade both times. These are going into our regular recipe rotation.

These fish cakes turned out to be delicious, but I had to slice them in half horizontally to cook the interiors. Next time I'll make the cakes half as thick to begin with. The giardiniera relish was just a wee bit salty for my taste, but otherwise very good. We'll definitely have Creole Samon Cakes again at our house.

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