24 July 2011

My Hundredth Post!

Until September, I will writing some posts for America Test Kitchen's Dish It Your Way challenge. Every other week they give a dish or ingredient and two weeks for bloggers to make the dish and write about in their blogs. At the end, the social media team reviews them, posts links to the competing blogs, and picks a winner for an online subscription to Cook's Country. Wish me luck!

How fitting is it that for my 100th (!!) post I get to write about an America's Test Kitchen recipe and enter it into the Dish It Your Way challenge?? Before I get started, let me just say it's been so much fun writing this blog and getting the very kind feedback from friends, family, and even the strangers who actually read what I write. This just started as a way for me to practice writing and keep myself accountable for challenging my culinary skills. So, thank you!

The latest challenge for Dish It Your Way is salmon. Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, I've been completely spoiled with some of the best salmon in the world. I've even had the privilege of getting fresh Alaskan salmon in my youth when a friend's uncle would go fishing for a couple weeks up there and bring us fresh and home-smoked salmon (this is where my bagel, cream cheese, and any-kind-of-salmon combo obsession comes from). Since the husband isn't so fond of fish, I had to think of an appropriate time and place to cook with salmon.

My girlfriends and I like to try to get together for a girls night every month or two and experiment with new, fun appetizers. I thought they would be a fitting audience. This month we also experimented with new martini recipes, too.  The first thing that came to mind when I thought of salmon and appetizers was salmon cakes. Cooksillustrated.com offered two recipes--one that is more like a crab cake with a base of egg and bread, and one that was more straightforward salmon. I went with the latter because I really wanted the salmon to stand out. Lucky for me the store was having a sale on wild Alaskan salmon since you need over a pound of it for this recipe (the downside to having the salmon stand out so much).

Start by mixing your non-salmon ingredients together.

Chop the salmon in smaller pieces and briefly pulse in the food processor, working in three batches.

Gently mix the salmon together with your base.

Form small patties with your salmon mixture. Since I was using mine as an appetizer, my patties were smaller.

Coat with more panko crumbs.

Patties all ready to be fried.

Enjoy a beverage while oil is heating...vodka pomegranate Arnold Palmer

Rosemary and olive gin martini (that was mine)

Fry the patties on each side for about two minutes.

Served with greens, lemon wedges, and dill aioli.

Chopping the salmon a bit helps with the cohesion, as well as keeping it flaky.

The girls look satisfied with my dish.

I used the dill from my garden to make a dill aioli to serve with the salmon cakes, but I don't think I used enough dill. I like a much stronger dill flavor. Oh well...now I have an excuse to make them again!

Easy Salmon Cakes
From Cooksillustrated.com
If buying a skin-on salmon fillet, purchase 1 1/3 pounds of fish. This will yield 1 1/4 pounds of fish after skinning. When processing the salmon it is OK to have some pieces that are larger than 1/4 inch. It is important to avoid overprocessing the fish. Serve the salmon cakes with lemon wedges and/or tartar sauce.


3 tablespoons plus 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
4 teaspoons lemon juice
1 scallion, sliced thin
1 small shallot, minced
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
pinch cayenne pepper
1 (1 1/4 pound) skinless salmon fillet, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup vegetable oil


1. Combine 3 tablespoons panko, parsley, mayonnaise, lemon juice, scallion, shallot, mustard, salt, pepper, and cayenne in bowl. Working in 3 batches, pulse salmon in food processor until coarsely chopped into 1/4-inch pieces, about 2 pulses, transferring each batch to bowl with panko mixture. Gently mix until uniformly combined.*

2. Place remaining 3/4 cup panko in pie plate. Using 1/3-cup measure, scoop level amount of salmon mixture and transfer to baking sheet; repeat to make 8 cakes. Carefully coat each cake in bread crumbs, gently patting into disk measuring 2 3/4 inches in diameter and 1 inch high. Return coated cakes to baking sheet.

3. Heat oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Place salmon cakes in skillet and cook without moving until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Carefully flip cakes and cook until second side is golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer cakes to paper towel–lined plate to drain 1 minute. Serve.

*I made this mixture a day ahead since we were cooking at my friend's house. It worked just fine, but I refreshed the mixture with a little bit of panko the next day before forming the patties to make sure it wasn't too gummy from sitting together overnight.


  1. Sad I missed the girl's night but having them cold the next day was just as yummy, I will say.

  2. Delghtful evening! It is always a pleasure to cook with you in the kitchen & enjoy your creations! Loved the salmon cakes, the panko crust was great and the dill aioli was a perfect accompaniment!

    (Stacey, we missed having you too!)

  3. Congrats on your 100th post! Those salmon cakes look awesome!