Friday, May 31, 2013

A Man, A Plan,...a Can? Salmon Cakes with Chipoltle Salsa

“We ate well and cheaply…” Ernest Hemmingway, “A Moveable Feast”

Following the mantra of  “fresh is better,” we have moved away from the can. For the most part, this is true. But what about canned tomatoes when it’s not tomato season? If you want to make crab cakes, you need to open some type of container of crabmeat. And if you want to eat wild salmon more frequently, canned makes a reasonable alternative. I’m not talking to a beautiful filet of wild King or Sockeye salmon sitting on the center of a plate. The cost in recent years has made that a special occasion item. So how about salmon cakes made with canned salmon? Using canned is cheaper than fresh and it has the advantage that it is almost always wild salmon whereas much of the fresh salmon in the store is farm-raised.
You can easily find canned salmon in your grocery store, either pink or red, the red being sockeye. After opening the can, you may have to remove some skin and a few bones but other than that, it’s ready to go, so for economy and ease, you’re set.
We all can’t dine at the Ritz everyday. Well, we certainly can’t. And to give the salmon cakes an upgrade, we’ll pair them with some smoky chipotle salsa.  That will require a few more cans but since the can opener is out of the drawer already……

Salmon Cakes with Chipotle Salsa
Since the salsa was made with chopped cilantro, I omitted adding fresh herbs to the salmon cakes. Season the salmon cakes with fresh herbs of your choosing.

One  14.75 ounce can salmon
½ cup diced red bell pepper
½ cup diced onion
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
juice of ½ lime
1 Tablespoon herb of your choice, chopped
1 egg, beaten
¾ cup panko bread crumbs
For cooking the salmon cakes: vegetable oil, such as canola. You could also add 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter to the oil if you wish.

1. Drain the salmon and remove any skin and bones. Transfer the cleaned salmon to a bowl. Add the bell pepper, onion, salt, pepper, and lime juice. Mix to combine. Stir in the beaten egg, mix, then add the bread crumbs. Mix until all of the ingredients are well combined. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate the salmon cake mixture for at least an hour.
2. Shape the salmon cakes to your preference; I weighed ours to 2 ½ ounces each. Heat a non-stick sauté pan over medium high heat. When the pan is hot, swirl in 2 tablespoons oil. Add the salmon cakes to the pan and cook until browned. Turn the cakes over and brown the other side. Remove the cakes from the pan and let them drain on a tray lined with paper towels. You can keep the cakes warm in the oven. Serve with the chipotle salsa.

Chipotle Salsa
One 14 ½ ounce can crushed tomatoes, preferably fire roasted
2 chipotle chiles, finely chopped
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced (red) bell pepper
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
juice of one lime
¼ cup chopped cilantro

1. To make the salsa, place all of the salsa ingredients into a bowl and mix until combined. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.

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