Friday, May 06, 2011

Timing is Everything

Some days it's all about the timing.

I'd been jonesing for some fresh salmon for awhile, and with our friends Kathryn and J— coming over for dinner it seemed like the perfect opportunity to satisfy my longing. While to some that may seem a tad self-centered of me (I am a blogger, remember?), I know very few Northwesterners who would turn down a whole salmon lovingly roasted over hardwood on Dave's Weber.

So when I stopped by, of all places, our neighborhood Fred Meyer and saw whole wild sockeye on special for $3.99 a pound, I nearly fell to my knees in praise to the god of dinner parties. Each one weighed in at just about three pounds and, since I know my guests well, I got two assuming we'd polish off more than one yet have leftovers aplenty.

Dinner was awesome, with a simple spring onion and wild mushroom risotto and Kathryn's salad of dressed wild greens with warm goat cheese cakes. It was all washed down by a stunning bottle of Boedecker Pinot Noir that they brought from their cellar. But leftovers there were, and I sent a package home with my guests, extracting a promise from Kathryn that she'd share her recipe for her Asian salmon cakes in exchange.

A couple of days later the recipe arrived with her note that it was a work in progress and that I should feel free to tweak at will. So with thanks to her, here's what I came up with. And I pass along her instruction to bring your creative juices to bear on these fabulous fritters. Just share any discoveries you might make along the way!

Salmon Cakes

2 lbs. fresh salmon (or 3 c. leftover salmon, flaked)
1/2 c. onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 serrano peppers, seeded and finely chopped
3 Tbsp. cilantro, finely chopped
2 tsp. fresh ginger, grated
Zest of half a lime
1/2 c. bread crumbs
1/2 c. mayonnaise
3 Tbsp. lime juice
1 tsp. sriracha
2-3 Tbsp. sesame oil
Salt to taste
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil

If you're starting with fresh salmon, boil 1/2" of water in a deep-sided skillet. Turn down to simmer and poach fish until medium rare in the center. Then flake, removing any bones, and use as directed.

Combine salmon and the rest of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Form into 2" wide and 1/2" thick cakes. Heat vegetable oil in non-stick skillet and fry over medium high heat till browned and crispy.

Excellent served with black rice and baby bok choi with a drizzle of wasabi cream.

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