Once summer hits, many of us are constantly on the go, so getting the most out of meals is essential.
Today’s salmon cake recipe fits that bill because it started with a leftover broiled salmon. It’s like getting two meals out of one.
When the salmon was broiled, the seasoning used was a basic all-purpose seasoning. So adding a slightly different seasoning was OK to make these tasty cakes. The flavor profile changed enough to make it different.
Salmon cakes are one of my favorite uses for leftover salmon. For one thing, they are super easy and versatile: You can serve the cakes as is or on a bed of mixed greens, on a bun as a sandwich or on small rolls for sliders. Or you can make mini versions and serve them as appetizers – cold or hot.
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One of the binding ingredients that hold these together is panko bread crumbs.
Popular for several years, panko bread crumbs – also called Japanese bread crumbs – are flaky and larger than store brand bread crumbs. They are made from the center of the bread and widely available at most grocery stores.
Look for them in the ethnic aisle near the Asian ingredients or near bread crumb-type products. Most stores sell several brands and varieties. The makers of Progresso bread crumbs have a plain panko variety as well as a lemon-seasoned, which would work well with this recipe.
Panko bread crumbs are ideal because they add a nice crunchy texture. In this recipe, I also used the panko to coat the salmon cakes before pan frying.
Serving the salmon cakes on a bed of mixed greens tossed with homemade vinaigrette is my preference – especially in the summer.
And making your own vinaigrette is a cinch. All you need to do is whisk together a good quality olive oil with some red or white wine vinegar, a splash of lemon juice, salt and pepper. You can dress it a bit more and add some freshly chopped herbs. If you want to cut the acidity, just add a pinch of sugar.
I recommend not skipping out on making the tzatziki sauce in the recipe. The cool tasting sauce goes well with the lemony cakes. If you plan on serving these as sliders, instead of the tzatziki sauce you can try a reduced-fat mayonnaise mixed with some Dijon, salt and pepper and chopped capers.
Lemon-pepper salmon cakes
Makes: 6-8 cakes; preparation time: 15 minutes; total time: 1 hour. You can substitute just about any cooked fish for the salmon in the recipe.
3/4 pound cooked salmon
3 tablespoons canola oil, divided
1/3 cup finely diced red bell pepper
2 green onions, ends removed, sliced
1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons lemon pepper seasoning
3-4 tablespoons reduced-fat mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 whole egg, lightly beaten
1 cup panko bread crumbs, divided
Mixed greens salad
Tzatziki sauce, optional
In a mixing bowl, break the cooked salmon into pieces. Make sure the pieces are not too small – once you form the cakes the salmon should look like lump crab does when making crab cakes. Set aside.
In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon canola oil over medium heat. Add the red pepper and onion; saute until soft. Cool a few minutes and then add to the salmon in the bowl. Stir in the lemon pepper seasoning, 3 tablespoons mayonnaise, Dijon, egg and 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs. Mix gently. If the mixture seems too loose, add more mayonnaise and more bread crumbs.
Shape the mixture into desired-size patties. A 1/3-cup measure will give you a good size (about 2 ounces) salmon patty. Once you have all the patties formed, place the remaining 1/2 cup panko on a plate. Lightly coat both sides of each patty with the crumbs (use more if needed). Set the panko-coated patties on a plate and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
When ready to cook, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat in the same skillet you sauteed the red pepper and onion. Working in batches if necessary, cook the salmon patties about 3 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Remove from the skillet and serve as is or on a bed of mixed greens.
Cook’s note: A tzatziki sauce goes great with these salmon cakes. Mix together 1 cup plain Greek-style yogurt and 1/3 cup reduced-fat sour cream with 3/4 cup chopped cucumber (peeled, seeded); lemon juice to taste, 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt and pepper to taste and 1 teaspoon minced garlic. Stir and chill 30 minutes before serving.
Nutritional information per cake: 269 calories (51 percent from fat), 15 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 16 g carbohydrates, 17 g protein, 261 mg sodium, 78 mg cholesterol, 1 g fiber.