Salmon cakes stir fond memories

  • By Leah Eskin, Chicago Tribune
  • Tuesday, May 6, 2014 9:25pm
  • Life

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

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