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Salmon cakes stir fond memories

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By Leah Eskin, Chicago Tribune
  • Salmon cakes with lemon-garlic aioli

    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

    Salmon cakes with lemon-garlic aioli

Mom picked up on the first ring. She'd been thinking of me. She had just finished dinner and was thinking about sitting in my chair.
“My chair?” I asked.
“Your chair,” she said. “The one you sit in after dinner. When you're not doing the dishes.”
News to me.
I've made many a meal at Mom's. And, I suppose, I've sat in that chair — the comfy leather one with the footstool — afterward. I suppose there have been times I've sat in the comfy chair after cooking and before cleaning up. Or after cooking and instead of cleaning up.
But I didn't realize I had a designated not-doing-the-dishes chair. Worse, a designated not-doing-the-dishes-chair so designated by Mom. Who knew she was taking notes?
I couldn't remember why I'd called. I hung up and patted together some salmon cakes, which always make me think of Mom. Their core component — cooked salmon — appeals to her enduring campaign to repurpose leftovers. Their supplemental ingredients — lemon, dill and red onion — appeal to my enduring campaign for spring.
After the cakes were chilling in their crumb jackets I washed the dishes. Then I sprawled on the couch, wishing Mom was on hand to take note.
Salmon cakes
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh dill
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 3/4 pounds cooked salmon, skin, bones and gray strip of flesh discarded
1 1/4 cups fresh bread crumbs
Mild oil, such as canola, for crisping
Mix: In a large bowl mix mayo, dill, onion, zest, salt and pepper. Add salmon. Mix gently with a soft spatula.
Shape: Pat into 8 cakes, each about 3 inches across and 1 inch thick. Roll cakes in breadcrumbs. Set cakes on a baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and chill. Chilling is optional, but makes the cakes easier to handle.
Crisp: Heat a thin film of oil in a heavy cast iron pan set over medium heat. Cook salmon cakes in batches until crisp outside and hot inside, about 2 to 3 minutes per side.
Makes: 8 cakes
Story tags » HolidaysCookingFood

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