Thursday, May 01, 2008

Salmon Cakes à la Cheap and Sneaky

I like fresh salmon, but I question the wisdom of eating much of it since the fish - like chickens, beef, etc. - are fed soy. In addition, a lot of farmed salmon has color added to the feed so they’ll look pinker.

Having had cancer, soy is on the verboten list. And the darn stuff is in nearly everything: low carb “breads”, salad dressings, cereals, etc. Even the sardines I’m supposed to eat often are packed in soybean oil.

So I’ve gone back to making salmon cakes from wild-caught canned salmon. The kind from Alaska, not China.

I used to make these years ago with cod in New England, back before you could easily get fresh salmon there. Recently I had some leftovers (unusual) and a friend liked them enough to ask for the recipe. Recently I got another request from someone on a diet.

Salmon CakesHere they are - this serves three people if one of them is a young man with a big appetite. Otherwise, a family of two adults and two kids would find this sufficient. For more people, just double the recipe.

Open the can (duh) and drain the broth into a separate bowl.

From here you have two ways to mash the salmon: put it through the blender or mix it with your hands. There are soft bones in the fish which have been pressure-cooked so that they will crumble between your fingers and finicky people will not know about this extra addition of calcium. The blender is easier and more thorough, however. Less messy, too.

Dump into a mixing bowl and add a Tablespoon or so of dried onion. Mix well to distribute. Set aside.

Now how to make the filler? Regular carb meals would permit some mashed potatoes, or finely crushed saltines, like you were making crab cakes. Medium carbs would allow for some mashed white beans, but if you want to make it low carb, use a large zucchini, grated and wrung out in a towel. Then sauté the zuke until it really lets go of the liquid (a little salt helps) and throw that into a colander. Squeeze out the liquid again.

Add the zucchini or the potatoes or crackers to the mixing bowl with the salmon.

On top of that put in about 1 Tablespoon of mayonnaise and one or two eggs. Some people prefer to avoid yolks, but they give you the same omega oils you’re getting from the fish (well, similar, anyway), so go whole hog. Or use two egg whites and give the yolks to the dog or cat.

On top of that put a large pinch of crab boil mix. It gives a good “seafood” flavor. If you don’t want to use that, then use dill. Fresh is best, though dried is tolerable.

Mix the whole thing with your hands until it is an even mooshy mess. If it seems too liquidy add a bit of cracker crumbs or flour or even oat bran. Anything which absorbs the liquid.

If too dry, use a bit of the salmon broth.

Use a cutting board of a piece of waxed paper on which to arrange the shaped salmon cakes. I sprinkle them with high protein flour on the top side and then let them sit in the fridge for a while. They seem to hold together better that way. But you don’t have to: you can simply heat some olive oil - enough to cover the bottom of the pan - and place some of the cakes, flour-side down (they won’t all fit in) - carefully into the pan once the oil is heated. Use medium heat, not high.

Turn oven on lowest setting and get out an ovenproof platter. Mine is 170 degrees so it won’t burn the paper towels on the platter.

Cover frying partially and cook until the bottoms are crisp. Takes only a few minutes, and you can flatten the cakes a bit when you check them.

Before turning over, sprinkle a bit of flour/salt or bread crumbs on the uncooked side. Press it in a bit before turning. Again, cook them for a few minutes partially covered…if you put the cover all the way on, I think it makes them steam a bit.

When bottoms are browned on both sides, put on platter and place in oven to keep warm while you finish the others. Depending on the size of the pan and the size of the salmon cakes, this will be one or two more batches.

These things absorb oil, so don’t put too much into the pan. Just enough to make them crisp. Add extra oil for each batch and let it heat before putting in the salmon cakes. If you don’t heat it sufficiently, they really will absorb the oil.

Again, remove and place on platter in oven.

Low carbing, serve with coleslaw and another vegetable, perhaps asparagus or green beans. If you need to gain weight, have some corn on the cob instead.

My family likes seafood sauce, so I use low carb ketchup, a squirt of lemon, a pinch of celery seed and a bracing amount of horseradish. The commercial kinds are way too sweet for our tastes.


At 10:12 AM, Blogger El Jefe Maximo said...

Hmmmm...wife does Salmon Cakes -- I'll pass the post along and see how similar your receipes are.

So what's with Soy and cancer ? Going to google that one.

At 9:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

El Jefe, Soy has hormonal qualities, esp. estrogenic.

I can visualize the entire process clearly. I didn't realize that farm-raised salmon is fed soy. Soy has become ubiquitous. I remember that it was easy to find red sock-eye salmon in the stores all the time when I was a kid. It costs a fortune now.


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