Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Not Your Mother's Salmon Cakes

Those of us that are Catholic, are bound to have memories of Fridays during Lent, when we were made to eat salmon cakes, prepared from tin-canned salmon, and cracker-meal.  I can still see my brother's face, as he gagged on every bite.  I didn't mind the taste as much, but doused mine in Heinz ketchup.

Well, times have changed, and the easy availability of fresh salmon has certainly changed the taste of salmon cakes.  Today, they're considered gourmet fare.  Serve on a crusty roll with tartare sauce, or dress them up with fresh, Dilly Cucumber Sauce.  Either way, they're delicious!

1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup fish stock, or clam juice
1/2 cup water
2 shallots, minced
2 to 3 celery leaves
1 pound salmon fillet, boned
1 pound boiling potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces
1/4 cup milk
3 teaspoons minced, fresh tarragon
1 teaspoon lemon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water
flour for dredging
1 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
lemon for garnish

In a large skillet, combine the wine, water and fish stock, shallots, and celery leaves.  Add the salmon, skin-side down.  Cover, reduce heat and simmer until the fish flakes when tested with a fork, about ten minutes.  Remove from heat, and allow the fish to rest in the poaching liquid for 15 minutes.  Remove fish from skillet, and carefully peel away the skin.  Set aside.

Meanwhile, cook the potatoes in water until tender, drain and mash.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the salmon (flake with a fork), mashed potatoes, milk,  tarragon, lemon pepper, and salt.  Mix well.  Add the egg, and mix again.  Refrigerate for ten minutes.

Form the salmon mixture into 8 to 10 evenly sized cakes.  Lightly dredge in flour, pass through the egg mixture, and coat with bread crumbs.  In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the oil, and fry the fish cakes in batches until browned, 3 to 5 minutes per side.  Serve immediately, or transfer to a foil-lined baking sheet and keep warm in 200 degree oven until ready to serve (don't hold them too long in the warming oven, or they will dry-out).

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