Grilled salmon is one of our favorite “go to” meals. If there are leftovers, I usually serve them cold room temperature with a yogurt and sour cream sauce or as a salad topping, but this past week, I decided to try something new – egg-free salmon patties.
The salmon patties, cakes, or burgers I’ve seen at our local fish store and at the fish counter of local grocery chains look OK, but I felt confident that I could do better with a few fresh ingredients. This version is similar to crab cakes, at least in general technique, and it’s just as scrumptious, but much less expensive.
Don’t stop reading now if you never grill or don’t keep fresh herbs on hand. You can make these with any kind of leftover cooked salmon, or even canned salmon. Dried dill is fine too – just keep in mind that the ratio of fresh to dried is typically 3-to-1, meaning that if a recipe specifies 3 teaspoons of a fresh herb, then you use 1 teaspoon of the dried variety of that herb.
I’ve provided the measurements for a single one. You can make more egg-free salmon patties, cakes or burgers simply by multiplying the ingredient amounts, except for the olive oil, by the number of cakes or burgers you’re making. When it comes to the oil, to make 4 or 6, you’ll need a bit more than for 2, but probably not double or triple that amount.
When these are our main course for dinner, I often serve them with sourdough bread. My husband eats his as a sandwich, while I typically eat my bread on the side. You could also make them smaller as an appetizer for a barbecue, or a light lunch or dinner.
These egg-free patties are a simple make-ahead dinner. Just them the night before, refrigerating them uncooked on a plate tightly covered in plastic wrap or in covered plasticware. Then fry them just before eating – in less than 15 minutes, dinner is ready! [Note – the patties are only egg-free if you use egg-free mayonnaise. Traditionally mayonnaise was made with egg and oil, but the egg-free variety is what I used and that’s why the recipe is egg-free.]
Egg-free Salmon Patties, Cakes, or Burgers
Serving – 1 large cake or burger Cost – $3-4
- 2 ½ ounces of cooked (or canned) salmon
- ½ ounce (⅛ cup) finely diced red pepper
- ½ ounce (⅛ cup) finely diced shallot or “regular” (yellow) onion
- ½ teaspoon prepared Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon capers, well rinsed. I prefer mine chopped or mashed, but if they are tiny, you can leave them whole.
- ⅓ cup bread crumbs (I mixed homemade and Panko)
- 1½ teaspoons chopped fresh dill (or ½ teaspoon dried)
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon egg-free mayonnaise (If you use traditional mayonnaise, which contains egg, the patties are not egg-free.)
- 1 -2 tablespoons + 1-2 teaspoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cutting board
- Measuring cups
- Measuring spoons
- Plate with plastic wrap or covered plasticware
- Pan with cover
- Metal spatula or pancake turner
- Mash the salmon in the bowl with the back side of a fork until it is crumbly and in small pieces. No need to fuss over how it looks, just break it up.
- Add the mustard, capers, half of the bread crumbs (about 2½ -3 tablespoons), and dill and mayonnaise.
- Dice the red pepper and onion or shallot by making thin slices, then cutting them horizontally into small pieces.
- Heat the pan until hot but not smoking, add 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil and sauté (fry) the onion and red pepper for approximately 3 minutes on medium heat until the onion becomes transparent and begins to brown.
- Add the cooked onion and pepper to the salmon mixture.
- Mix the ingredients with the fork until combined, adding a sprinkling of salt (preferably kosher or sea salt) and pepper. I add relatively little salt because the capers retain a salty taste no matter how well you rinse them.
- Then form the patty with your hands – yes, I know it’s a tad messy, but there is really no other way to get a nicely formed burger shape. Press the mixture firmly together but don’t get too rough with it. Roll the burger in the remaining bread crumbs. (If you prefer, you can roll it in the breadcrumbs just before frying.) Put the burger on a plate or in a plasticware, cover and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes. This “resting time” helps the salmon burger to keep its shape while it cooks.
- When ready to cook, heat the pan again to hot but not smoking. Add 1-2 tablespoons of oil (I prefer a nonstick pan for this recipe because it allows you to use less oil) and cook the salmon patty, cake, or burger for approximately 5 minutes per side until the bread crumbs brown. After the first few minutes on each side, cover the pan so that the cake or burger heats through. When removing the cover, be careful to move it quickly so that the water doesn’t drop into the pan. (When even a few drops of water fall into hot oil, the oil can splatter.) While the cake or burger should hold together, it is more delicate than a beef burger, so be gentle when turning it and removing it from the pan.
- Serve as a sandwich or burger – on a bun or with bread, on top of lettuce, or “as is.”