Salmon Cakes

These salmon cakes are pan-fried and served with an avocado dip and chimichurri sauce. Certain to banish all memories of the less-than-stellar fish cakes of your youth.

Six salmon cakes on rectangular platters with bowls of avocado spread and chimichurri beside.

These salmon cakes elevate canned salmon beyond recognition and banish all past recollections (nightmares?!) of Fish Friday. For good.–Renee Schettler

Salmon Cakes

  • Quick Glance
  • Quick Glance
  • 45 M
  • 1 H, 15 M
  • Serves 2 to 4
Print RecipeBuy the The Tinned Fish Cookbook cookbook

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  • For the salmon cakes
  • For the avocado spread
  • For the chimichurri


Assemble the salmon cakes

In a medium saucepan over high heat, combine the potato with enough water to cover by 1 inch and season generously with salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to maintain a simmer, and cook until the potato is tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain and let cool.

In a large bowl, roughly mash the potato, then mix in the scallion, arugula, chives, and cayenne pepper. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the egg and the salmon and mash with a fork until everything comes together in a coarse mixture.

Shape the potato-salmon mixture into balls that fit in the palm of your hand and then flatten them until they’re between 1/2 and 3/4 inch (12 and 18 mm) thick. The salmon cakes will be fragile. Place on a plate, loosely cover, and slip in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Make the avocado spread

In a medium bowl, mash the avocado with the shallot, lemon juice, and some olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.

Make the chimichurri

Purée all the ingredients in a food processor until mostly smooth or the desired consistency, 2 to 3 minutes. Drizzle in a little extra olive oil if the sauce is too thick.

Fry the salmon cakes

In a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat, warm a splash of sunflower oil. Dust the salmon cakes with a bit of flour, if using. Carefully add the salmon cakes to the skillet and fry util golden brown on 1 side, 3 to 4 minutes.

Carefully flip the salmon cakes with a spatula and fry on the other side for 3 to 4 more minutes. The cakes should be nice and hot inside.

Tester tip: These salmon cakes are quite delicate, so take extra care both when slipping them into the skillet and when flipping them.

Lift the salmon cakes out of the pan and onto paper towels or a brown paper bag cut open. (You can also keep them warm in a low oven until the rest are cooked, if you prefer.)

Serve the salmon cakes with the avocado spread, chimichurri, and lime.

Print RecipeBuy the The Tinned Fish Cookbook cookbook

Want it? Click it.

Recipe Testers' Reviews

This recipe made me decide that I am a salmon cake lover. This was a dish that previously did not really excite me: although not anti-salmon croquette, I just did not see the big deal about them. My parents made them growing up and it was definitely not included in my top dinner memories. I decided to try this recipe because of the addition of potato as well as the fresh green components. So glad that I did! The potato gives a lovely texture and makes the salmon cake less tight and fishy! Love all the bright components of the chimichurri and the avocado spread with the notes of lemon and acid. It was more of an elevated salmon cake and definitely something that looks like and tastes like it belongs on a restaurant menu. For the amount of work I felt like it was worth getting at least 4 portions (in our house, 2 nights of dinner for 2), so I doubled the salmon cake recipe. You do not have to do so with the chimichurri and avocado as those are generous enough to stretch another night.

The photo on this recipe sold it for me. I was looking for a small plate, single serving recipe that was a “looker” without too many ingredients. This recipe had the “looker” prerequisite but it seemed to have too many components. After the second read, I decided to treat the steps as 3 recipes. This made it seem so much more simple. The progression actually saved time and after 50 minutes, I had a meal with 3 distinct components.

Both the avocado spread and the chimichurri could easily be paired with other recipes. I used canned wild sockeye salmon, drained, bones removed and I large russet potato. My frying oil is grapeseed oil so I used that. I liked that the recipe suggested refrigerating the cakes to firm them up as this did work very well.

I opted to not flour the cakes before frying. This was the only element that I feel could have been enhanced. There was an overabundance of creamy textures. I missed a crispy crust on the salmon cakes which perhaps the flour could have repaired. Definitely the use of coarse bread crumbs or anything creating a crispy crust would have enhanced the experience.

As for the flavor, there were layers of intricate, subtle, and more forward flavors that all married into an exciting final dish. Fed 4 as a starter on a bib lettuce leaf but would feed 2 as a main course.

A salmon cake with a scoop of avocado spread, a drizzle of chimichurri, and a garnish of cilantro on a butter lettuce leaf.


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