Salmon Cakes

By Chef Michael Lomonaco
Serves 8 as an Appetizer, 4 as an Entree

1 pound poached or baked salmon – chilled, boneless, and skinless
1 sweet red pepper, diced
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
6 slices fresh white bread, crusts removed
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh garlic
1-2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Old Bay brand seasoning
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
vegetable oil for sauteing
**Note: The “secret” of a perfect salmon cake is to use the finest, freshest salmon money can buy, and plenty of it!

Poach or bake salmon. Remove all bones and skin. Cut into pieces. Saute the diced sweet peppers in the 1 tbs. vegetable oil until wilted and set aside to cool. Place the bread in a food processor fitted with a metal blade, and process until finely crumbled. Measure and reserve 2 tbs. of the bread crumbs to use in the filling. The remaining bread crumbs will be used to coat the salmon cakes.

Mix the salmon with the sweet peppers, garlic, jalapeno peppers, cilantro leaves, and mayonnaise. Add the seasoning powder, 2 tbs. of bread crumbs, and salt and pepper. Mix well, then refrigerate 20 minutes before continuing.

Cover a work surface with waxed paper sprinkled with the reserved bread crumbs. Using a 2-ounce ice cream scoop, form 8 equal-sized portions of salmon. With the palm of your hand, pat each portion in to a disk-shaped cake approximately 1/4-inch thick. It is important for the salmon cakes to be the same thickness so that they will cook uniformly. Press each cake into the bread crumbs, turning them so they coast evenly on all sides. Refrigerate at least 1 hour to prevent the cakes from crumbling during cooking.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. No more than 30 minutes before you plan to serve the salmon cakes, add enough vegetable oil to cover the bottom of an ovenproof saute pan. Heat until just before it begins to smoke. Add the salmon cakes gently, being careful not to crowd the pan. (Cook them in two batches if necessary.) When the salmon cakes are well browned on both sides, bake them 6 minutes to ensure that they are fully cooked and hot at the center. Serve with Chili Mayonnaise or mayonnaise flavored with mustard or horseradish, and garnish with a small salad.