Slightly Spicy Salmon Cakes

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When Selim asked me to make dinner with some salmon tonight, I wanted to try something a little different than our usual. Our usual involves adding spices to a salmon fillet and broiling it. Selim is the master of this process. I am not.

So I googled “different way to make salmon.” Seriously. This is how sophisticated and worldly I am. After browsing around for a bit, a salmon cake recipe caught my eye. I grew up eating crab cakes like it was my job, but I don’t think I’ve ever had salmon cakes. I wanted to bake them instead of fry them in a nod to being a bit healthier. After Pinterest-ing for awhile, I found a recipe on the Baked by an Introvert blog that approximated what I was envisioning for tonight.

I’m really happy about how my version turned out. The salmon cakes are moist on the inside and just barely crisping up on the outside. Slicing them open with the edge of your fork releases a gratifying poof of steam. I love the flavor. If you’re one of those people who orders their Thai or Indian food at level 10, you probably won’t find this very spicy. But for the rest of us, it’s a nice, slowly-building spiciness.

I also made a cilantro lime aioli to top these guys, but am not super happy with it, so won’t share tonight. I think with just a few tweaks it’ll be perfect. A cool topping like that complements these salmon cakes perfectly though!

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Spicy Salmon Cakes

(Inspired by the Oven Baked Salmon Cakes on Baked by an Introvert blog)
Ingredients: 
  • 1lb or less salmon fillet (ours was 0.85lb)
  • 1/2 of a small onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 of a red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup of cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 10 turns black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1/4 tsp ancho chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp hot sauce (we prefer Frank’s)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
Instructions: 
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, slide the salmon fillet into the water. Decrease heat to low and cover for 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, combine onion, pepper, crumbs, and spices in a large bowl.
  4. Remove salmon from water. Set out and allow to cool.
  5. Pat the salmon dry of any excess moisture. Coarsely break apart and add to the bowl. Stir to combine with other ingredients.
  6. Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl. Combine well.
  7. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and lightly coat with cooking spray.
  8. With your hands, scoop up a full handful of the salmon mixture. Form into a ball between your hands. Place on the cookie sheet, and press down lightly with the heel of your hand to create the patty.
  9. Repeat step 8 for each patty.
  10. Bake for a total of 30 minutes. Flip halfway through, so each side cooks for 15 minutes.
Makes 6 medium patties.

Sweet Soy Glazed Salmon

SSSalmon2After a weekend filled with carbs & starches (Sat: pasta carbonara & Fri: sweet potato fries & pimento cheese fries at our new favorite restaurant) we decided to go to one of our staples: salmon.  It’s easy to cook; it can be broiled, grilled, baked, pan fried, or steamed, and doesn’t make you want to lay down after eating a bunch of it.  We like Asian flavors and this one packs a double umami punch of soy sauce and hoisin sauce.  The key here is reducing the marinade while the salmon bakes, but not burning the marinade as it reduces.  Also, please please please use low sodium soy sauce as anything with more sodium will be way too salty and surely raise your blood pressure.

A nice cold slaw pairs well with the spice and salt from the salmon.  We used a large beet and a large carrot (both of which were from the farmers market) and we made a refreshing vinaigrette with olive oil, rice wine vinegar, fresh lime juice, and fresh mint.

Sweet Soy Glazed Salmon

Ingredients: 
  • Two 6oz salmon fillets
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp hoisin sauce
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (add more if you want a little extra heat)
Instructions:
  1. Mix together all of the ingredients except for the salmon in a bowl.
  2. Place the salmon fillets in a zip-lock bag. Pour the sauce over top and close the bag. Allow to marinate at room temperature for 30-40 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Remove the salmon fillets from the bag and place on baking pan. Bake for ~20 minutes.
  4. While salmon is baking, pour the marinade from the bag into a small pan. Bring to a very low simmer on the stove. Reduce until the liquid has thickened. (Do not have the heat too high! The sugar will burn.) This may take 10 minutes or the whole 20 minutes that the salmon is cooking. Just keep a close eye on it.
  5. After the salmon has cooked (should flake easily with a fork), brush with the glaze and serve.
Serves 2.

SSSalmon

Ancho Chili Salmon with Sweet Summer Salsa

This was an easily thrown together dinner from the other night. We almost always have salmon in the fridge and wanted to try something a little different to go with it. So basically, we looked at our fridge and fruit bowl, mixed a few ingredients together, and ended up with an awesome, repeat-worthy dinner!

The “salsa” could easily be modified to include whatever fruits you wanted. The fruits are so sweet and flavorful on their own that they barely need anything else.

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Ancho Chili Salmon with Sweet Summer Salsa

Ingredients: 

Salsa
  • 1 champagne mango
  • 1 peach
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1/2 of a medium sized yellow onion
  • Juice from 1 small lime
  • Salt & pepper
Salmon
  • 2 salmon fillets (approximately 5-6oz each)
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp Ancho chili powder

Instructions: 

  1. Remove salmon from refrigerator. You want it to be room temperature before cooking it.
  2. Chop fruit and vegetables. Dice the onion finely, but the others should be chopped in slightly bigger chunks. Toss with lime juice, salt, and pepper.
  3. Mix all of the salmon spices in a small bowl. Heavily season the top of the two fillets.
  4. Set the oven to broil (low broil if your oven does that). Once hot, place the salmon fillets on foil and put in the oven directly on the top rack. Broil for approximately 10 minutes (may need less or more time depending on size of salmon fillets). Close oven door, but watch closely through the window so fish doesn’t burn.
  5. Serve salmon over top of the salsa.
Makes 2 servings.