If you live in Seattle, it’s required by state law to consume wild salmon during the summer or at least it feels that way. As a result, I end up with a lot of leftovers, so I created this easy salmon cakes recipe. Lately, I’ve been grilling more than we need in order to use the leftovers for these fragrant salmon cakes that I developed last year when faced with a pile of leftover salmon after a rained-out BBQ. They’re simple to make and freeze well and offer a healthy alternative to fish sticks. They’re easily dressed up by a simple sauce.
I adore avocados, but my husband is less enthusiastic, so I end up with halves or slivers of leftover avocado. One day, trying to develop a spa cuisine-style low-fat dressing for a guest chef gig at Rancho La Puerta, I came up with this winning Avocado-Basil Dressing. Inspired by a 1974 “spa cuisine” cookbook, I blended together a bit of leftover avocado and a bit of seltzer water with a wonderful result. The result is a light, airy dressing that works well with simple, tossed salads and also with salmon and grilled chicken.
Make your own breadcrumbs
Two slices of toast pulsed for 30 seconds in a small food processor makes about a cup of bread crumbs, and the flavor beats the gritty store-bought variety.
Using fresh fish? No problem
If using fresh fish, simply poach it quickly in water. The salmon cakes make enough for two as a meal, or four as an appetizer, but the recipe is easily doubled or tripled.
Easy Fragrant Salmon Cakes
- 1/2 lb. 225g cooked salmon or mild white fish filets
- 1 whole egg + 1 egg white
- 1 cup bread crumbs divided in half
- 1 small handful any combination of chopped fresh herbs such as parsley dill, basil or cilantro
- 4 green onions white and light portions minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/8 tsp or two to cayenne or cajun seasoning optional
- Olive oil or cooking spray
- Preheat oven or toaster oven to 400°F/200°C degrees. If using an air fryer, set to 370°F/185°C on "bake" if yours has that specific function.
- Combine egg, half the breadcrumbs, chopped herbs, green onions, lemon juice, Old Bay seasoning, mustard, ¼ teaspoon coarse salt, cayenne and several grinds of black pepper in a large bowl. Put the remainder of the breadcrumbs into a separate shallow bowl. Discard fish skin.
- Crumble fish into bowl, sifting to uncover any bones. Mix thoroughly.
- Coat a cookie sheet with cooking spray or olive oil. Form the fish mixture into small cakes, about 1/3-inch thick. Dip both sides of the fish cakes into breadcrumbs and place on the cookie sheet.
- In an oven or toaster oven, bake at 400°F/200°C degrees for about five minutes, then broil for about 90 seconds until golden. Turn off broiler, remove sheet from pan and carefully flip cakes. Bake another five minutes and then broil until the top is golden another 90 seconds.If using an air fryer, bake for eight minutes, turning halfway through. Serve warm.
Avocado Basil Dressing
- One quarter of a pitted peeled avocado
- 6 basil leaves
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- ½ teaspoon minced shallots
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 1/2 tablespoons sparkling water
- Combine the vinaigrette ingredients into a small food processor or blender and mix until smooth. Add salt and cranks of black pepper to taste.