The leaves are raked for the first time in three years, the grass has been mowed perhaps a month or so overdue and the chores are done.
That doesn’t happen very often around these parts, so I am fairly pleased with myself. On the flip side, I am exhausted, and the last thing that I want to do is cook dinner, but it is dinner time so off I go.
I have a pact with my wife at the present time that we are not purchasing any meats until I go through the freezer in order to dispatch that which we already possess.
The usual suspects are present: chicken, salmon, scallops, beef of varied inexpensive sorts and pork adorn our standup steed in the pantry, a frost-laden testament to the fact that I don’t always practice what I preach.
Playing a quick game of eenie-meenie-miney-mo, my finger laid to rest on the salmon, so it was time to do something with it that I haven’t before. Oh the drudgery.
Too many articles have found themselves in the pages of this fine paper regarding salmon and its many uses, applications and tweaks. There’s just not much left to do with the blasted stuff. Grilled, seared, en croute, poached, abnauseum absurdum. But I am a professional so I pontificated.
I recalled a short period of time in which I worked at a great restaurant in Baltimore, The Polo Grill. It was the restaurant where the Orioles and CFL Colts ate. It’s where the jockeys and horse owners conducted business. It was a beautiful place, and the chef was a true educator.
At the Polo Grill, grilled salmon was a common banquet item. As there was typically a pan or two left over for a given overset, and since many banquets took place on Saturday night, Sunday brunch was the perfect time for salmon cakes.
Based loosely on potatoes croquette, this great main item is perfect when served on top of sautéed spinach, braised cabbage or a nice salad. Since it is autumn, I would be more inclined to stick with the cooked vegetables, even leaning towards carrots, collards, kale, parsnips, turnips and the like.
The key is to make a fairly thick and flavorful potato mixture and then fold in the salmon carefully. Once you get to that point, you just treat them just like crab cakes when forming. Then, just dust them in either flour or breading and fry until crispy.
My problem now is that I nibbled too much as I cooked. Now that dinner is done, I am just not hungry anymore. Luckily these little beauties reheat beautifully and freeze well as long as they are vacuum sealed. So don’t worry if you make too much.
If you decide to freeze them, cook them halfway in order to crisp the outside. The sealing process will go much better that way.
As the evening progresses and the article finishes itself, my stomach starts to rumble signaling that it is time to eat my wares. I have to admit, this is not a bad gig. I get to eat what I write about, so that’s not bad at all…until we get to fruitcakes.
With the holidays around the corner, I fear for the return of my sister’s whiskey-soaked monstrosity, but that’s for another day. For now, I’ll just relish in the news that my chores are done…for once.
3 ea. Baking potatoes
1 whole onion, skin on
¼ c. unsalted Butter
S&P to taste
Nutmeg to taste
2 Whole eggs
1 Egg yolk
12 oz. Salmon, sautéed until done
Egg wash for breading
Flour for breading
1 ea. Tomato, skinned and seeded
Greens or kale
carrots, cut oblique
Sherry or Balsamic vinegar to taste
- Pick the salmon apart into bit size chunks and set aside in a bowl
- Bake the potatoes and whole onion in a 400F oven until baked, approximately 45-50 minutes
- When the potatoes are soft and cool enough to handle, squeeze them into a bowl
- Mash with a fork or slotted spoon and add the butter, salt, pepper and nutmeg and incorporate
- Once the steam has dissipated a bit, add the eggs and incorporate well
- Fold in the salmon pieces, adding fresh herbs if your heart so desires. I personally recommend it
- Bread according to your standard breading station
- Dust with flour
- Dip in the egg wash
- Coat with breadcrumbs
- Fry in hot olive oil until golden and then turn and fry the other side
- Finish the salmon cakes in a separate pan in a hot oven to cook through
- Take the whole onion and cut it into rings to use as a base for your vegetables
- In the original pan, sauté the carrots and greens, both having been blanched in salt water until almost done
- Add the tomatoes and cook through. Finish with a pat of butter and a splash of vinegar to add a little bite to the vegetables.