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Sunday cooking adventures: Salmon cakes with olives, lemon and thyme

Salmon cakes with olives, lemon and thyme

Salmon cakes with olives, lemon and thyme

Every now and then I try a recipe and wow! It tastes way better than I thought it would.

Today when I tried these salmon cakes, all kinds of things were going through my mind, including the fact that my husband doesn’t love lemons (except in tartar sauce and lemonade).  This recipe has the zest of two lemons, which is where it gets a lot of its flavor. It also gets a lot of flavor from the Kalamata olives. Because we don’t usually do salt, this was a real treat for us.  At less than 399 of milligrams of sodium per patty, I felt like it was ok for an occasional indulgence.

Chop scallions, combine with olives and thyme in food processor.

Chop scallions, combine with olives and thyme in food processor.

After you chop the salmon, mix it with the chopped vegetables, and  make the patties, you put them in the refrigerator so they hold together when you fry them.  Don’t be tempted to skip this step — I refrigerated mine for an hour (the recipe recommended at least 20 minutes to 2 hours). Some of them still fell apart when I turned them. You may also want to try oven frying them for half an hour on 400 degrees. Spray the pan and the top of the patties with cooking spray before you cook them.  I didn’t try this but I may next time.

If you zest a lot of lemons when you cook, it pays to buy a microplane.  It's sharp and zests easily and quickly.

If you zest a lot of lemons when you cook, it pays to buy a microplane. It’s sharp and zests easily and quickly.

I made eight, 1/2 cup size patties, plus a little one.  I only had 2 1/4 pounds of salmon. if I had had the full 2 1/2 pounds I probably would have had nine half cup patties plus a baby one. Also, I used thyme instead of dill, just because I love the taste of thyme.  Dill, not so much. But either works.

I made eight half cup portions and had about 1/2 a portion left for one more mini-patty.

I made eight half cup portions and had about 1/2 a portion left for one more mini-patty.

These salmon cakes were really yummy considering there very few ingredients: a rich dish made healthier and it still felt rich in flavor.

Fry in very little oil, about 3-4 minutes on each side on medium to medium low heat.

Fry in very little oil, about 3-4 minutes on each side on medium to medium low heat.

Here is the link to the original recipe: http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/salmon_cakes_olives_lemon_dill.html
adapted from EatingWell magazine, Oct. 2013

4 scallions, quartered
1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives
3 tablespoons fresh thyme
zest of two lemons
3/4 teaspoon cracked pepper)
2 1/4 pounds wild salmon, skinned and cut into 2-inch chunks
4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1. Place scallions, olives and thyme in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Transfer to a large bowl. Stir in lemon zest and pepper.

2. Working in 4 batches, pulse salmon just 2 or 3 times to finely chop but not puree. (I pulsed 3 times.) Add the chopped salmon to the bowl; gently mix until combined. (Alternatively, finely chop salmon, scallions, olives and herbs by hand before combining with lemon zest, salt and pepper.) Divide the mixture into eight 1/2 cup patties, about 3 inches in diameter and 3/4 inch thick. Chill in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours before cooking.

My sad attempt at copying EatingWell magazine photo.

My sad attempt at copying EatingWell magazine photo.

3. To serve: Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 4 salmon cakes and cook until browned on both sides and just cooked through, 6-8 minutes total. Repeat with the remaining oil and salmon cakes.

4. To freeze: Let cooked cakes cool to room temperature, individually wrap in foil or freezer paper, place in an airtight container or freezer bag and freeze.

Note: The picture with the EatingWell recipe was so nice I decided to try and replicate it. Big mistake! Mine doesn’t look nearly as good as theirs so I gave up. But it didn’t stop this from being a great recipe.



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