Salmon Cakes

salmon cakes

If you've got salmon and crackers in your pantry, whip up a batch of these zesty, crunchy-crusted salmon cakes. The lemon and dill work to counteract the "fishy taste" that kids sometime complain about, so the nutritious cakes end up flavorful but mild.

Total time: 20 minutes
Yield: Serves 4


    16 ounces canned salmon, drained, skinned, and boned
    1 cup cracker meal (about 1/2 sleeve Saltines, crushed fine)
    1/2 cup Hellman's or Best Foods mayonnaise (not low-fat)
    1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
    1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (optional)
    The finely grated zest of 1 lemon, plus 2 tablespoons of its juice
    1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (or half as much table salt)
    Freshly ground black pepper
    1 stalk celery, finely chopped, plus some of the leaves, also chopped
    2 tablespoons fresh dill, finely chopped
    Vegetable oil for frying
    Tartar sauce, purchased or homemade (see recipe below)

    Tartar Sauce (Makes a little more than 1 cup):
    1 cup Hellman's or Best Foods mayonnaise (not low-fat)
    2 tablespoons lemon juice
    1 tablespoon finely chopped dill
    1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
    1 teaspoon capers
    1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (or half as much table salt)


  1. For the tartar sauce: Whisk ingredients together in a small bowl and chill until serving.
  2. Flake the salmon with a fork, then add the cracker meal to the bowl and use your hands to blend it into the fish.
  3. Whisk together the mayonnaise, Old Bay, hot pepper sauce, lemon zest and juice, and salt and pepper, then stir it into the fish mixture along with the celery and dill. The mixture should just hold together: Add more cracker meal if it's too wet, or a bit more mayonnaise if it's too dry. Use a 1/3-cup measure to form 8 patties around 3 inches wide and 1 inch thick.
  4. Heat 1/4 inch of oil in a large nonstick skillet over moderate heat, until a pinch of the fish mixture sizzles when dropped in the pan. Fry the cakes in a single layer until golden, around 4 minutes per side. Drain on a paper-towel-lined plate and serve with tartar sauce.

See more recipes from Catherine Newman at her "Dalai Mama Dishes" blog.

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