Tighter budgets can still produce wonderful seafood meals. This preparation is relatively simple and quick, and can make use of leftovers: Friday night’s mashed potatoes and broiled salmon find new life in these savory cakes. They can stand alone as an entree, or make great appetizers for group get-togethers. They can be made ahead of time and reheated. The original recipe appeared in the New York Times; I have adapted it and added some healthier touches and kick.
You will need:
- 3 bunches fresh spinach or other greens (if you use a robust winter green like kale or chard, remove the stems and thicker ribs)
- 4 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped
- 2 c leftover mashed potatoes
- 8 oz. cooked wild Alaskan salmon, flaked
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 2 tsp salt
- several cranks of freshly ground pepper
- ¾ c flour
- 2 ½ c panko bread crumbs
- ½ onion, finely chopped
- a few healthy shakes of ground cayenne
- olive oil
For the sauce, you will need:
- 4 or 5 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 c sour cream or Greek yogurt
- a handful of fresh dill, minced
- pinch of nutmeg
- a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce
- zest of one lemon
- salt and pepper to taste
- lemon wedges (as garnish)
1. Wash and coarsely chop the spinach. Sautee the spinach, onions and garlic together until the spinach is completely wilted and the onions are translucent and golden. Set the mixture aside to cool.
2. In a large bowl, combine the potatoes, flaked salmon, 1 cup of the panko crumbs, 2 beaten eggs, salt, pepper, and cayenne.
3. Squeeze as much liquid as you can out of the spinach. Let it rest a moment and then squeeze it again. Add the spinach to the potato-fish mixture and mix well. Use your hands to make sure it’s evenly combined and there are no fish bones or potato lumps.
4. Set up an assembly line: line up three wide bowls, and put the remaining panko crumbs in one, the rest of the eggs in the middle one, and the flour in the other.
5. Form the salmon mixture into small patties, around 3 inches wide and ¾ inch thick.
6. Drop each patty in the flour, coating it thoroughly. Then, dip it in the eggs. Finally, dredge it through the panko crumbs so that it is completely covered. Reform and set the finished patties aside on a baking sheet, covering them with plastic wrap or a damp towel. Let them rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 4 hours.
7. In the meantime, make the dill cream by combining the yogurt or sour cream with the rest of the ingredients. Be sure to taste it and adjust the seasonings; you may want to add a small splash of vinegar or a pinch of sugar, depending on the acidity of the yogurt or sour cream.
8. To cook the cakes, cover the bottom of a heavy skillet with olive oil and heat it to medium-high. Cook the cakes in batches, turning them once to brown them evenly. Drain them on paper towels or newspaper and keep them in a warm oven as you cook the rest. Serve hot with the dill cream and wedges of lemon.