For months I’ve glimpsed the two golden cans of wild Alaskan salmon every time I opened my cabinets. And every time I’d think, oh yeah, salmon! I should make salmon cakes! But it took an inexplicable urge to actually MAKE dinner (and not just fajitas, or tacos, or any of the other commonly prepared Mexi-foods of our household) instead of eating out. So here you have it, my tried & true Sally-style salmon cakes recipe.
- One tall can of salmon. Not the regular can size, and not the family size that soup comes in… you know. A tallish can. I’d say like, 20 ounces. Is that a thing?
- About a quarter of a red or orange pepper, finely diced
- About a quarter of a normal sized yellow onion, finely diced
- Two eggs
- 3/4 cup breadcrumbs
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of mustard. I used honey-dijon, which was great. Don’t use regular yellow, that’d be weird.
- Some of my buttermilk-lime and chili aioli, which I’ll tell you about it one hot minute.
First and foremost, preheat your oven to 425 F.
Nextly, saute up the pepper and onion with some olive oil and/or butter. While that’s softening up, empty your can of salmon into a bowl and pick out any skin or bones. I found like, a human spine, some finger-lookin’ bones, and a ton of weird black skin stuff. Don’t be alarmed, just be thorough and triple check that you got all the freaky bones out. Nothing says “scarred for life from fish products” like biting into a giant bone. Not like I know, TACO DEL MAR. Not like I SPENT A LOT OF TIME GETTING OVER THAT FISH TACO or anything. When the peppers and onions are softened, add them to the (perfectly edible) salmon, along with everything else, except the aioli, obviously. Mash all that up for a few minutes!
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or oil the sheet, whatever) and form the mixture into 8 cakes. They’ll be about 2.5 inches across and 3/4 inches thick. Bake them for about 15 minutes, or until they’re heated through and slightly browned on the bottom.
While they’re baking, make this aioli! If you already have buttermilk, use that, but if not, do this:
Take about 1 cup of milk and squeeze the juice from 3/4 of a lemon into it. Just cut the lemon in fourths and squeeze the juice into your hand so you catch the seeds and don’t dirty a juicer for a measly couple teaspoons of acidity. Leave that milk for 5 minutes to let it curdle and thicken. Now take a lime, and zest the whole damn thing! Chop all that zest up a bit and put it into your new buttermilk mixture. Throw in a couple tablespoons of sour cream or plain yogurt, salt and fresh ground pepper, and about 2.5 teaspoons of chili-garlic sauce. If you don’t already have a jar of this at your house, go buy it right now. It goes with absolutely everything.
Stir all that aioli up, drizzle heartily over those cakes, and serve with a little salad with sesame dressing and some of mom’s recipe cornbread, and you’re set. For the cornbread recipe, click here
! It’s totally worth it if you have ten extra minutes to throw it all together, but if you’re really hungover or have another good excuse, just use two boxes of Jiffy cornbread mix. It’s super cheap, weirdly sweet, and pretty great all things considered.