I adore Bal Arneson the Spice Goddess but had a real miss with one of her recipes from Bal’s Quick and Healthy Indian cookbook published by Whitecap Books. As much as I love recipe testing, sometimes it gets frustrating so instead of getting upset. I went off the foodie map! Here is what happened…
I was making her broiled salmon with fenugreek yogurt on lentils. I even ordered fenugreek online just for this recipe. I made the yogurt coating filled with spices, dipped in this beautiful piece of salmon and got cooking.
I browned it on both sides and then baked (not broiled, there was no broiling, very confusing) it for 9 minutes. I also cooked the lentils with lots of spices but the liquid never disappeared. Was it supposed to? I have no idea. I kept hoping the liquid would evaporate. The words “drain” or “sieve” did not appear in the recipe.
I took the salmon out and had a bad feeling. I cut it in half and yes, it was totally raw in the middle. I tilted the salmon to sear the raw edge, making the two pieces look like shark fins. I wish I had photos but at this point my camera gave up on the dish. It refused to take anymore clear shots.
By the time the salmon was ready, the lentils were overcooked. What was most shocking is how, with all those herbs and spices, could this dish be so boring?! There was no sauce (sigh) and it just tasted like salmon on top of overcooked lentils. Boring! A flavour failure.
The next day I decided I was not going to let that leftover salmon go to waste (although there was no hope for those lentils). I decided to make salmon cakes with the half piece of salmon that was left. Which meant I would also have to come up with a sauce. I found this recipe for Mustard Dill Sauce which is no-cook. Just stir together and you are good to go. Perfect!
I had some leftover pizza dough and decided to see if it would make good hamburger buns. Why not? All of a sudden my salmon cakes were turning into salmon burgers, LOL.
I cut out some dough with a glass. All my cutters are either really small or big and I did not want huge portions.
I did an egg wash, sprinkled with sesame seeds (yay! I can find them now!) and baked in a 350F oven for around 15 minutes. They came out really nice but I must admit, Canadian Living’s Best Hamburger Buns were better!
It amazed me that half a piece of salmon went a long, long way. Oh and adding green onions, a little egg, breadcrumbs, dried dill and salt and pepper helps. I also boiled a potato and then put it through my potato ricer and right into the bowl.
I mixed until everything combined and adding breadcrumbs as I went until everything started sticking together. I used a medium ice cream scoop to divvy out the salmon and shaped into patties. Then I dredged it in flour, some beaten egg and finished with panko breadcrumbs.
I sauteed the salmon cakes over medium high heat for two minutes on either side to get them nice and brown. Then I finished them in a 350F oven for 10 minutes.
So nice and crispy, not to mention delicious! I am sure they would have been perfect for the fish cake lover just like that.
Not me though! I put the salmon cake on my “hamburger bun” and slathered with the sauce which was super runny. Next time I will make it with low fat sour cream instead of whipping cream.
How were the flavours? Out of this world! The sauce is very strong but it helped cut any fishiness of the salmon which tasted perfect. I could not get over how delicious this was. I have had fish cakes from the grocery store before (my husband loves them) but THIS was a whole other entity. So moist and delicious, I was in heaven. This is going to become a regular in our household!
I love taking a disaster and turning it into something fabulous and flavourful. I need strong and bold flavours. I want them. Give me something to remember. To savour. To crave for once it is gone.
Life is too short to be subtle.
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Debra She Who Seeks says
I’m not the world’s biggest seafood fan but even I would love to have one of those delicious-looking salmon cakes!
I will definitely try this but without the first part!!!
Suzie Ridler says
Oh I do hope you try and like these then Debra! Amelia, yes, avoid the first part. Just cook up some salmon your favourite way and you’re good to go.
I just hope Reg likes them as much as I do!
Excellent foodie save! Last time we had leftover salmon I made these little cakes as well, it was Michael Smith’s recipe from Chef at Home. Everyone loved them!
That sauce sounds fantastic too, love all the mustard seeds in the photo, and the cakes are so perfectly golden, awesome shot. I agree though, sour cream or even mayo would thicken the sauce nicely. How do you feel about horseradish? Martha Stewart has a tangy, creamy sauce to serve with fish which is out of this world!
Hmm…Lentils do absorb liquid, but any time I’ve cooked them I think I’ve had to drain them…I guess you’d have to start with just the right amount?
My mom makes awesome fish cakes…I really should get her to teach me how she makes them.
Suzie Ridler says
Ava, Michael Smith was a bit inspiration for my approach, although I had to do the dredging with panko. So glad you like the photos! I love horseradish, Reg hates it! He would hate this sauce too though, LOL. You know I made those fish sticks of Martha’s but I don’t think I made the dip! Probably because he wouldn’t eat it but I might now, thanks!
JC, thank you! That is very helpful. Next time I will drain them after 20 minutes and not let them keep cooking, LOL. Yes, get that secret intel from your mom about the fishcakes. That info is like gold!
Halifax Seaport Farmers Market says
I love salmoncakes. When I have leftover mashed potato, I make them the next day using tinned salmon.
Suzie Ridler says
It is a great way of using salmon for sure! A little goes a long, long way. Super economical and delicious to boot!
I love the very last line – Life is too short to be subtle! I think I’ll be borrowing that! 🙂 Awesome!