Salmon Cakes with Lemon Yogurt Sauce
After 6 long weeks of studying (plus 2 years of med school), I finally finished that huge exam. Honestly, I will have no idea how it went until I get my score in about a month- but for now, I’m just celebrating being done! I spent the evening after my test in Toledo hanging out with friends, and then left the next day for a “vacation” to Brecksville with my Mom. While I put vacation in quotes, it really has been a vacation. Between a lot of wine and a lot of fun family time, we managed to make a trip down to the West Side Market. Of course, I had a blog menu all planned out – and my mom was really excited to take part in something that was going to go on the internet :-).
If you’re from Cleveland, or ever visiting, I highly recommend a trip downtown to see it. It’s a really unique atmosphere, with every other stand trying to sell you their best produce (or at least the produce they have too much of).
After getting all the ingredients at the market, we stopped at Penzey’s spices which is right across the street. I have wanted to go to Penzey’s for a while, so I was really excited that their new store happened to be so close. They have just about every spice you could ever want, including about 8 different varieties of cinnamon. I ended up getting poppy seeds, Ancho peppers and Garam Masala – all of which I’m really excited to use. And the prices are surprisingly reasonable ($8 total for my loot).
Now onto the Salmon Cakes! These babies have been one of my favorite dishes since way back when I was living in LA (that’s Louisiana not the cooler California version). I decided to try this recipe after Whitney had introduced me to crab cakes at Red Bar near Seaside, FL. I have no idea why I never tried a crab cake before this but I found that I loved them and am now constantly on the lookout for good ones.
However, the price of lump crab meat is daunting (especially here, far from the ocean), so I thought salmon cakes would be a nice alternative. These always prove to be delicious, and they are quite easy to make. I think the hardest part is removing the skin from the salmon filet – but most of the time the Fishmonger will do this for you, as long as you remember to ask.
While this recipe doesn’t call for a lot of ingredients, I think each of them is very important – so don’t skimp. I know adding pita to a salmon cake might seem a little strange, but the texture is much nicer than the usual breadcrumbs, and then you have some leftover pita bread sitting around your house (plus!). The coriander is the main spice, and it really complements the salmon well. If you like a lot of spice, feel free to up the cayenne pepper – but I usually only add a small pinch, and they are still plenty flavorful. Finally, the lemon yogurt sauce is a must to serve with these. It’s super easy to put together since you already zest a lemon and chop chives to put into the salmon cakes – the only other ingredient you need to buy is the yogurt itself.
Salmon Cakes with Lemon Yogurt Sauce
-Makes 4-5 salmon cakes or enough for about 3-4 people.
- 1 pound skinless salmon fillet, roughly cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 large pita round (~10 inches), torn into small pieces
- 1/4 cup light mayonnaise
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander
- small pinch of cayenne pepper
- pinch of salt
- 4 T. total chopped Chives (divided)
- 2 teaspoons total lemon zest (divided)
- 2 T. olive oil (for sautéing)
For the Sauce:
- 3/4 cup plain yogurt
- 1 T. lemon juice
- Plus half the chives and half the lemon zest from above
To prepare the yogurt sauce: Mix the yogurt, lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of chives and 1 teaspoon of lemon zest in a small bowl. Keep cold until ready to serve.
In a medium bowl, mix together salmon, pita, mayonnaise, egg, coriander, cayenne pepper, salt and 2 T. chives and 1 teaspoon lemon zest.
Form the mixture into 4-5 patties, about 3-4 inches in diameter. This can be done ahead of time – just cover with plastic wrap and keep in the fridge).
Heat the oil on medium-high in a large stainless steel skillet. Cook the salmon cakes on medium high for 3-4 minutes per side (6-8 minutes total), or until golden brown on each side.
Serve warm with lemon wedges and yogurt sauce.
Adapted from Epicurious