By Leah Eskin, Chicago Tribune
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.
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