This recipe ticks many boxes for me. First, it’s yet another way to cook salmon. Second and more importantly, it’s perfect for when you entertaining casually and want a simple but complete one-course meal that can be done in advance, and you are done with thousand variations of pasta.
The fishcakes do involve a bit of work beforehand, but once they are done and shaped, you just need to pan fry them before eating. The original recipe is by Ina Garten, of the Barefoot Contessa fame. Her recipes are very reliable and almost always work. She uses a special seasoning in her recipe, which is hard to find outside of the US, so I have substituted a mix of spices to replace that. I do feel that American portions are huge, so when one of her recipes says it’s for 4, I know it will safely feed 6.
A lot of fishcake recipes have a fair amount of potato, which can mask the flavour of the fish. Although this recipe has a fair bit of breadcrumbs in it, they allow the flavour of the salmon to shine through.
The salmon needs to be cooked before the fishcake mixture is made. Garten recommends cooking it in the oven, which keeps the fish dry and flavourful.
Most of my family like salmon on the undercooked side, so I keep this first cooking time short. This step can be completed well in advance, or even the day before, as you want the cooked salmon to have cooled before mixing it with all the other ingredients.
Preheat the oven to 175C (160C fan).
Place the salmon on a piece of oiled aluminium foil, skin side down. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on a baking tray and roast in the preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes, until the surface starts looking opaque and cooked. If in doubt, under rather than overcook. (See photo for the colour of the cooked salmon).
Remove from the oven and wrap in the aluminium foil. Allow to rest for 10 minutes and refrigerate until cold.
Combine all the ingredients for the dry spice mix in a small bowl.
Meanwhile, heat a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the butter & olive oil, the chopped onion, celery, peppers, parsley, capers, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce and all the spice mix.
Add 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and black pepper and cook the vegetables until they are soft, approximately 15 minutes. Cool to room temperature.
To the bowl / pan containing the cooked vegetables, add the mayonnaise, mustard, and eggs. Flake the chilled salmon and add to the bowl.
Add the bread crumbs and mix everything well. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Shape the mixture into 10 to 12 fishcakes. Cover well with cling wrap and place in the fridge until you are ready to cook them.
About 15 minutes before you want to serve the fishcakes, heat about 2 tablespoons each butter & olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Fry the shaped salmon cakes for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, until browned.
Drain on paper towels and serve with a green salad.
To make 1 cup of dried bread crumbs
- Make these at the same time as you are roasting the salmon (use the oven on the fan setting).
- Break up about 3 to 4 slices of bread (white or brown) in pieces and process the in a food processor fitted with a steel blade.
- Place the bread crumbs on a baking tray and toast in the oven for 5-8 minutes until lightly browned, tossing occasionally. Take out and cool before using.