When I was young, we ate salmon patties often. The thing I found distasteful about them was that they carried too much of a breaded flavor. I came up with my own rendition that mixed traditional crab cakes and salmon patties minus the bread or crackers. They came out moist, flavorful, held together really well and they were frugal gourmet to boot.
2 14.74oz cans Chicken of the Sea Traditional Canned Salmon
1 bulb of Garlic
3 Tablespoons of Cooking Olive Oil
1/4 cup of finely chopped Red Onion
1/3 cup of finely chopped celery with some baby leaves still attached (taken from the heart of the celery stalk)
1/3 cup of peeled, grated, then chopped Carrot
1/2 cup of Parmesan Cheese (I just used the kind that comes in the green bottle)
Paprika to taste (I used about 3-4 Tablespoons)
Kosher Salt to taste ( I used about 3 Tablespoons)
Pepper to taste (I used about 1 teaspoon)
2 Tablespoons of Crushed Basil.
Break apart the Garlic Bulb. Cut off the root end of each clove. Lightly saute on setting 3 (low heat) until the skins pull back from the flesh. I go by the delicious smell. When the scent is a delicate garlic flavor in the kitchen I know it is done. Save the pan and oil for another step. Squeeze the end of the garlic and pop them out of the skins. Discard skins.
If you are not accustomed to working with canned salmon, this part will...well, make you want to throw in the towel but DON'T. Trust me. De bone and break apart salmon, remove large skins as much as possible. Knead the salmon, small amounts at a time between your fingers, from one bowl to another. Break tiny bones by rolling with your fingers. Be certain to get all of the sockets out. If it feels offensive in my hands it will feel offensive in the mouth. Do not worry that some of the tiny soft bones remain as this will go undetected to the pallet. It should look like very tossed canned tuna when done.
Finely chop Garlic, Red Onion, Celery, and peeled Carrots. (I use an old hand crank salsa maker to do this)
Return the Garlic, Red Onion, Celery, and Carrots to the pan and gently saute (I use heat setting 4) until lightly tender. Keep the cover on the pan in between tossing to keep all of the wonderful flavors for your cakes. I watch for a bit of an orange base to form in the mixture as this lets me know that it is done. For me this takes about 8-10 minutes. Remember...gentle not hot.
While the mixture is sauteing, Add Salt, Pepper, Paprika, Basil and Parmesan Cheese to the Salmon and toss until it is well mixed together. I use a large, shallow bowl and sprinkle the seasonings evenly over the top so that it mixes well. When you think it is good, give it another quick toss. Pretend you are Julia Child's. Drink Wine if this helps.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Let the sauteed mixture cool for about 5 minutes then add it to the salmon mixture and toss very well.
Add three Eggs to Salmon Mixture and blend well.
Using a 1/4 measuring cup, firmly pack and then shake out onto a baking sheet keeping the form. You should get 14 cakes from this. Don't smash them down. I use a seasoned baking sheet but if yours is not yet seasoned, then just a bit of oil to keep it from sticking. Not too much as you don't want it to create a fried crust...unless you love that.
Here is the trick. You will need to have a second baking sheet ready to use. Place them into the oven for 10 minutes. Pull them from the oven, flip them upside down onto a clean baking sheet and return them to the oven for an additional 10 minutes. Pull them from the oven and place them back onto the first baking sheet and cover them with foil until they are ready to be served. This keeps them moist and allows the flavors to infuse.
Best Frugal Gourmet Salmon Cakes I have ever, ever tasted! Next I will venture to create a double batch and freeze them. I will also experiment with making mini sized scoops for hors d'oeuvres to freeze and have ready.
I created a lemon and cayenne pepper sauce to top it off and while the flavor was complimentary, it can be better so I will hold off on sharing a sauce recipe until I fine tune this. The cakes though...absolutely wonderful!