Friday, July 22, 2011

Salmon Cakes

We love our wild Pacific salmon, generally grilled outside and with a touch of olive oil brushed gently on both sides, sprinkled with lemon pepper, and usually with a little extra freshly ground black pepper. For us it doesn't get much better... unless of course you have some left over, as we normally do, and then, you might consider the following.

One of my favorite food blogs that I frequent is Mary's One Perfect Bite, and earlier this month she offered the following recipe that was developed by Ina Garten. I changed only a few things: instead of 1/2 cup of red bell and 1/2 cup yellow bell pepper, 1 cup of only the red was used as that was on hand; and I decided on only 1/2 cup of bread crumbs (see note below).

Salmon Cakes from Diana's kitchen courtesy of Ina Garten

1/2 pound fresh salmon, grilled or baked, then chilled
Extra Virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup small-diced red onion (1 small onion)
1 1/2 cups small-diced celery (4 stalks)
1/2 cup small-diced red bell pepper (1 small pepper)
1/2 cup small-diced yellow bell pepper (1 small pepper)
1/4 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon capers, drained
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce (recommended: Tabasco)
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons crab boil (Old Bay) seasoning
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 slices stale bread, crusts removed
1/2 cup good mayonnaise
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten

If the salmon is not already prepared from a previous dinner, then use the following procedure: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the salmon on a sheet pan, skin side down. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, until just cooked. Remove from the oven and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Allow to rest for 10 minutes, remove the skin, and refrigerate until cold.

Meanwhile, place 2 tablespoons of the butter, 2 tablespoons olive oil, the onion, celery, red and yellow bell peppers, parsley, capers, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, crab boil seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a large saute pan over medium-low heat and cook until the vegetables are soft, approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

Break the bread slices in pieces and process the bread in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. You should have about 1 cup of bread crumbs. Place the bread crumbs on a sheet pan and toast in the oven for 5 minutes until lightly browned, tossing occasionally.

Flake the chilled salmon into a large bowl. Add the bread crumbs, mayonnaise, mustard, and eggs. Add the vegetable mixture and mix well. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Shape into 10 (2 1/2 to 3-ounce) cakes.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. In batches, add the salmon cakes and fry for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, until browned. Drain on paper towels; keep them warm in a preheated 250 degree F oven and serve hot.

Notes from my kitchen: Substituted for the red onion was a sweet white Walla Walla from the garden. Only 1/2 cup of bread crumbs was used, and that goes back to having lived on the east coast for so many years and enjoyed Maryland crab cakes, the best of which had no crumbs. The difficulty is that they tend to break apart easily, so I made the cakes smaller (about 3" in diameter) for better ease of turning them over in the saute pan.

If you like salmon as we do, then you are going to love this recipe... so full of wonderful flavor, tender, sweet. (I've made them twice this month.) Should you like wine with your dinner, add a nice chilled glass of a buttery Chardonnay. Does it get any better than this?

bon appétit!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Full Buck Moon

It was nearly a Full Buck Moon as we returned home following a wonderful dinner with friends. The moon that had been sandwiched between two layers of clouds, now appeared to ride high in the pastel sky. With camera in hand, we backtracked to capture some of the evening.

According to the Farmer's Almanac, July's Full Moon has also been called Hay Moon and Thunder Moon.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

4th of July Harvest: The Brassicas

We finally had a warm and sunny yesterday, 81° F, and with an expected high of 86° over the next several days, we made our early morning rounds in the garden. It was a major harvest day for the Brassicas: broccoli, Cauliflowers Graffiti, Cheddar and Snow Crown, Cabbage Stonehead, and the various types of kale. (The slugs were horrific, but I managed to pick most of them off the cabbage and cauliflower leaves and send at least 60 of them to slug hell. Placing them in a sink filled with cold water and a little salt, brought the remaining ones out.)

We shared one of the beautiful white heads of cauliflower with a neighbor, another was made into cauliflower soup, three were cut into florets, blanched and frozen, and I see Roasted Cauliflower in the not too distant future with the remaining head. Today I shall tend to the kale and cabbage.

We hope you had a safe, fun-filled 4th of July
and that you took a moment to ponder the meaning.