1 (14.5 oz.) can salmon, drained and deboned
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 c. bread crumbs
2 T. onion powder
1 T. pickle vinegar
1 T. Old Bay seasoning
1 t. dill
1 t. black pepper
Mix all ingredients. Form into 6-8 patties. Fry in 1-inch oil at 5 min. per side. Serve topped with mayonnaise or Hollandaise.
Difficulty level: Padawan
Required tools: mixing bowl, frying pan, paper towels
I own a reissue edition of the 1953 Better Homes and Garden New cook Book“. It’s probably my favorite thing out of my kitchen, but I’m not above marking it up. Because it’s my go-to cookbook, I write things in it so I’ll know where to find them the next time. For example, the conversion from all-purpose flour to self-rising (1 1/4 t. baking powder and 1/4 t. salt per cup) is conveniently written in Sharpie on the inside back cover. And I’ve added notes to a few recipes which needed tweaking.
Until last week, though, I had never added a recipe to the book. This one, though, screamed to be put in. I modified this recipe from jess4uandme at allrecipes.com (always cite your sources, kids). And here’s a fun secret–don’t tell my mom, but they’re better than hers!
So, we’re going to start with a can of salmon (that’s the blue one on the right). I’m using pink salmon here. There’s probably some reason red salmon is more expensive, but I’m on a budget–not finding out today. Fair warning, if the only canned fish you’ve seen is tuna, the next picture is going to make you sicker than Luke when he came back to the homestead from Kenobi’s place.
Yeah. Gross. And there’s a lot of little bones in there, too. Most of them have been softened enough not to need to be pulled, but be sure you get the spinal column out. And you really don’t have to worry about the skin, either. It’ll all look (and taste) the same when the ingredients are together.
A word on the spices: this is the part where you can really play with things. The eggs (and, to a lesser extent, the bread crumbs) are necessary, but everything else is subject to taste. Maybe you want diced onions instead of powder. Maybe you don’t want as much Old Bay; maybe you don’t own any Old Bay and want to use seasoned salt instead. Maybe you’d prefer the more traditional lemon juice to the pickle vinegar. [I use it for three reasons: 1) it pairs well with mayonnaise, 2) it’s a good use for a wast product, and 3) you probably have pickles at home.] My advice is to start with this setup, then see what you do or don’t like about the flavor and make your own changes.
Once they’re mixed well, try to get the patties fairly even. You’ll want 5-6 for this quantity (if you get a runt, just cut down on its cooking time). Get them basically round, but a little flattened so they’re not too tall. The taller they sit, the more oil you’ll need for frying.
A big mistake I made often while learning to cook was getting the oil too hot. Don’t get it so hot it smokes, but be sure it’s hot enough to pop when a drop of water hits it (meaning it’s evenly above 212º F). Let them sizzle–undisturbed–for five minutes.
Now we flip! Notice the char. They’re pretty dark, even black at the very bottom. This is exactly what we want. Five minutes on the other side, and these are ready to serve aboard Jabba’s sail barge. (I have no idea why they’re bubbling so much!)
The final product. Be sure to layer your plate with at least one paper towel, to catch the grease. Otherwise you’ll end up with greasy spots on the bottom of your patties and an overly greasy plate. The outsides, as you can see here, are completely crispy, but the insides are still soft.
Enjoy! Top with mayo or, if you want to cook asparagus with this dish (I recommend it!), use Hollandaise for both.
Recommended Kool-Aid pairing: Lemon-Lime. The citrus pairs well with the fish, without adding the complexity that would overpower it.