16 December 2008

Salmon Cakes with Tartar Sauce

I am feeling less than festive this week with the temperatures dipping to minus 18 Celcius. Is that Jack Frost nipping at my nose!!!! Even daily walks are out of the question in my books. There is just no way to dress warmly enough. They are even asking parents to pick their kids up at school. Thank goodness for a warm car parked in a parking garage!!!!

My family is gloating (a little too much I might add) in the warmer Eastern provinces. Is that the Evil Witch of the West" rubbing her hands together. I'll get you "my pretties" and your little dog too....... Ha! It's coming your way!!!!!!!

Despite the temperatures I have picked up last minute gifts and ingredients needed for baking up a storn for the holidays. Despite the less than seasonal climates I am ready to "batten down the hatches" and get on with a little baking, cooking and Christmas cheer the More Than Burnt Toast way. What better way to spend a nippy afternoon but in the nice warm kitchen with the air smelling of freshly baked bread, cinnamon and licking copious amounts of spoons.

Seven Fishes Blog celebrates an Italian Christmas. Around the world Southern Italians celebrate Christmas Eve with a Feast of the Seven Fishes, also known as La Vigilia ("the vigil").
It is an Italian tradition built around fish of all kinds and prepared in as many different ways as possible. The menu and the number of fish dishes varies from family to family and village to village, but it's usually seven. In any case, seven fish dishes is a feast! Two dishes that seem to show up in every one's traditional Feast of Seven Fishes are smelts and baccalĂ  in some form or another. BaccalĂ  is better known as salt cod .

Joe from Italyville and Maryann of Finding la Dolce Vita have created the food event Seven Fishes Feast to celebrate this age old Italian tradition. Now we can all join in!!!

This salmon dish comes from Ina Garten the Barefoot Contessa herself. It is not a typical Italian dish but one that I make often. You have until December 18th to join in!!!

** Salmon Cakes with Tartar Sauce**

1/2 pound fresh salmon
Good olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup small-diced red onion (1 small onion)
1 1/2 cups small-diced celery (4 stalks)
1/2 cup small-diced red bell pepper (1 small pepper)
1/2 cup small-diced yellow bell pepper (1 small pepper)
1/4 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon capers, drained
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce (Tabasco)
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 -1/2 teaspoons crab boil seasoning (Old Bay)
3 slices stale bread, crusts removed
1/2 cup good mayonnaise
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the salmon on a sheet pan, skin side down. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, until just cooked. Remove from the oven and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Allow to rest for 10 minutes and refrigerate until cold.

Meanwhile, place 2 tablespoons of the butter, 2 tablespoons olive oil, the onion, celery, red and yellow bell peppers, parsley, capers, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, crab boil seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a large saute pan over medium-low heat and cook until the vegetables are soft, approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

Break the bread slices in pieces and process the bread in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. You should have about 1 cup of bread crumbs. Place the bread crumbs on a sheet pan and toast in the oven for 5 minutes until lightly browned, tossing occasionally.

Flake the chilled salmon into a large bowl. Add the bread crumbs, mayonnaise, mustard, and eggs. Add the vegetable mixture and mix well. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Shape into 10 (2 1/2 to 3-ounce) cakes.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. In batches, add the salmon cakes and fry for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, until browned. Drain on paper towels; keep them warm in a preheated 250 degree F oven and serve hot.

**Tartar Sauce**
1/2 cup good mayonnaise
2 T small-diced pickles or cornichons
1 T Champagne or white wine vinegar
1 T capers
1 tsp coarse-grained mustard
Pinch kosher salt
Pinch freshly ground black pepper

Place all the ingredients in a food processor or mini chopper fitted with a steel blade and pulse several times until the pickles are finely chopped and all the ingredients are well mixed but not pureed. Best Blogger Tips


  1. Hi there val..my nose is cold too & the 'evil witch' has reached this end as well! It's beginning to get very cold & we donot have the luxury of central heating...so we freeze some bits outdoors & continue indoors at most times! LOL...am coming over for that yummy looking treat!! I'm beginning to enjoy sea food a LOT now! YUMMM...

  2. I love salmon cakes! This recipe sounds great! Yummy!



  3. I love your contribution to our feast! Thanks Val!
    Baccala! This was always my favorite fish dish. I make it just like grandma. The thing about it is you have to soak the salt cod for 3 days, always changing the water and it smells..a little..haha...but in the end it tastes wonderful :)Good luck in the winning of the gift basket!

  4. I have never made salmon cakes, but I want to now!

  5. What a marvellous idea!!!!!!!!!

  6. I'm sure you'll have the bbq out before you know it and then you'll be gloating! Good to see you're getting into the spirit of it all Val...salmon cakes are delicious!

  7. Our temps in Ontario dropped close to 20 degrees in the last 24 hours. So you don't have to feel alone in the misery!
    I love the salmon cakes - I have never made them before either, but I am a huge fan of Ina (went to see her at the Manulife Center a couple of years back)
    They look delish - you found Old Bay in Canada?

  8. Our weather is wishy washy here. One day we have ice and snow and below zero temps and then the next day its in the 50s and raining. Today we are sunshiny but later we are supposed to get another snowstorm!

  9. Val, we'll get our cold spell soon enough and you'll be back BBQ'ing.

    You're spoiled with excellent salmon and these sound delish.

  10. Sounds delicious. I love crab cakes so I'm guessing I would love this too.

  11. I've always wanted to try salmon cake but never have. Yours look delicious and I think they are a must try.

  12. Your salmon cakes sound wonderful. I love them! The tartar sounds like a good recipe that I have bookmarked for the holidays!

  13. I think the only thing you can do is stay in and bake up some goodies, Val! I wish I could send you some warmth!

  14. I really like salmon cakes but somehow never think of making them. Maybe this will get me going in that direction. Come on over to my blog to warm up for a minute.
    P.S. Is that photo with the blue door from Santorini? I think I have the same picture.

  15. Since Crab Cakes make a regular appearance on our dinner table (at least 1-2 times per month), perhaps I should switch things up a bit. Yes, I think it's high time I give these Salmon Cakes a whirl, as this plate of food looks absolutely delicious!

    P.S. I just saw where you awarded me with a Hard-Working Blogger nod back in November. I don't know how I ever missed that, but I did. Thank you, for your kind thoughts. I'm honored you thought of me, and I'm glad I finally stumbled across that. You made my day! :-)

  16. Gosh salmon has so many healthy benefits, honestly you should eat it every day. And this recipe, well it sounds fabulous. I love crab cakes and I'm thinking salmon cakes may be even better. Thanks!

  17. I made salmon today inspired by Giz's post. I never made salmon cakes so these are also in my list to do as they sound great.

  18. I think this is the second time I have seen salmon cakes...and also the second time I instantly drooled and kicked myself for not trying them yet. These sound so tasty!

  19. Every places we lived was really cold, except here in the Valley. So we went out for our walks, even at -20. But we had good boots and clothes. It's really cold especially if there is wind. I love the dish you make.

  20. Oh the cold...it's just frigid in the west right now. But these look very heartwarming. I love salmon cakes.

  21. I have a salmon Cake recipe that's completely different from yours , I think I need to try yours! Thanks Val!

  22. Jack Frost nipping at my nose...I wish!!! I love the salmon fish cakes...super crunchy on the outside!!!

  23. Jack Frost nipping at my nose...I wish!!! I love the salmon fish cakes...super crunchy on the outside!!!

  24. I miss Italian Christmas Eves with my friend's family!

  25. it's actually been pretty mild here so far (except for one mega ice storm), so i have no excuse for my laziness. :)
    lovely cakes and awesome sauce, even if mayonnaise is involved. :)

  26. Yum, Yum, Yum! I eat salmon often, but I don't know when I've last had a salmon cake. They are one of my favorite things and I'd love to have a serving with some of your tartar sauce. Great recipes!

  27. Great minds definitely think alike with the salmon. I'd like to make some salmon cakes at some point. The ones I grew up with were really dry, but these look amazing.

  28. Yummy salmon cakes! Homemade Tartar sauce rules. :)


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