So I found myself on this Monday with two nice pieces of cedar plank salmon (leftover from Saturday night) and a small loaf of Country French Bread (I picked up a few days ago). I will confess I’m not a big leftover fish person, at least not a chunk of fish, so the likelihood of me actually eating the salmon by itself was slim to none. I considered making a salmon pasta salad but just wasn’t feeling it so I thought it would be a good time to try something new… salmon cakes.

In the past I have made crab cakes. I use a great recipe I got from watching Ted Allen on Oprah years ago when Queer Eye for the Straight Guy was all the rage. His recipe is simple and still a favorite of mine (Lump Crab meat, an egg, Dijon, and seasoning. Dredge in crushed corn flakes and bake) but for my salon cakes I wanted something different. After doing a quick Google search I decided to base my attempt somewhat around a Barefoot Contessa recipe… though this left me torn with one big decision …

To Bake or Fry?

If I asked Paula Dean this question I fear I’d get a smacked across the face by her diamond adorned, batter coated hand. True we share a love of butter but, while I like to eat it, I don’t often make fried foods. Baking is healthier than frying and I’m not getting any younger but after a little consideration I came to the conclusion the only way to decide was to try both.

To keep it fair, I prepared one batch and split it in half. The only addition to the fried version was a tablespoon of butter and about two tablespoons of olive oil which I used in the skillet for frying.

The Verdict

It was a close call. The fried were a little moister (though I might have let the
baked ones sit a bit too long) and had a touch more flavor but the baked were a very close second and possibly the winner if by merit of less fat.

Salmon Cakes

Red bell pepper
2 tablespoons Capers
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Chili pepper or hot sauce (to taste)
1-2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning
Salt & Pepper (to taste)
2-3 tablespoons Butter
3-4 tablespoons Olive Oil
1/2-3/4 pound cooked Salmon, flaked (mine was leftover, grilled Alaskan Sockeye)
1 cup Bread Crumbs (I made mine today by throwing some leftover French bread with the crusts removed in the food processer with Old Bay seasoning and then toasting the crumbs in the oven)
2 Eggs
1-2 tablespoons Mayonnaise
1-2 tablespoons Dijon Mustard
Dice onion, red pepper and celery. You want about 1 1/2-2 cups total. Add to skillet with about 1 tablespoon butter and 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add capers, Worcestershire, chili pepper, Old Bay, salt and pepper and sauté for about 15 minutes on medium heat or until onion, bell pepper and celery are somewhat soft. Remove from heat and let cool.
Mix Salmon, bread crumbs, eggs, mayonnaise and Dijon. Add cooled sautéed mixture (adding hot can cook the egg. Combine. Chill mixture for 30 minutes or so to make it easier to work with.
Form cooled mixture into patties. You can adjust the size here based on what you 
like but remember the larger and thicker they are the longer they will need to cook to heat through. My personal preference is 2-3 inches in diameter and about 1/2 inch thick.
To Bake: 375 for ~30 minutes turning once
To Fry: Heat 1-2 tablespoons of butter and 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy skillet. Fry 4-6 minutes turning once.
And the final word… I started to macerate some blueberries and cherries in a little rum, salt and pepper. Seeing a refrigerated pie crust that was about to hit its “Best Before date” and being that it’s National Pie Day I added an apple, threw in some honey, dolloped some butter and grabbed a large muffin tin… not sure if they will even come out of the tin but here goes nothin’…