When I was young, my father took care of me and my brother. He didn’t really know how to cook, so he used the Betty Crocker cookbook and recipes from the labels on the cans and boxes of food he bought. This recipe for Salmon Cakes with Homemade Tartar Sauce by Kristen Beddard, author of Bonjour Kale and founder of The Kale Project, takes me back to my childhood. These are made a bit like crab cakes — no filler. My father’s favorite dish to make was salmon cakes, but they were never this fancy! —Kristina
Why Kristen loves this recipe: I love entertaining, but sometimes the thought of planning, prepping, cooking and cleaning up can seem daunting. If I’m having a last-minute dinner party or Sunday brunch, these salmon cakes are my go-to. They are simple yet hands-on and can be prepared ahead of time, which means there is more time to be with your guests. The recipe pairs well with a fresh green salad and baguette and if you’re feeling up for it, a spicy Bloody Mary.
Salmon Cakes with Homemade Tartar Sauce
Makes 12 entrée portions cakes or 24 appetizer portions
— 2.5 lb/1 kilo salmon fillet, pin boned
— ¼ cup/40 g red or yellow pepper, chopped
— ¼ cup/30 g red or spring onion, finely chopped
— 3-4 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
— 1 tablespoon chives, finely chopped
— ¼ cup/50 g breadcrumbs
— 1 egg, lightly beaten
— 1 teaspoon celery seed
— ½ teaspoon celery salt
— Salt and pepper
— 2 egg yolks
— 1 heaping tablespoon Dijon mustard
— 5 tablespoons canola oil
— 5 tablespoons sunflower oil
— Squirt of lemon juice or dash of white wine vinegar
— Pinch of sea salt
— Gherkins, roughly chopped
— Capers, roughly chopped
— ½ tablespoon ancient mustard (with mustard seeds)
— Salt and pepper
To make the tartar sauce
1. Whisk the egg yolks in a small bowl. Add the mustard and continue to whisk. Slowly pour the oil into the bowl in small amounts and whisk until the mixture thickens. Continue to add the oil like this until it is all mixed together. Add the lemon juice or vinegar and salt and whisk again. Add the capers and gherkins and mix into the mayo. Add the ancient mustard and additional salt and pepper to taste and mix. Chill for at least an hour before serving.
To make the salmon cakes
1. In a large pan, bring water to boil and place the salmon skin side down. Bring to simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes or until cooked. Remove from heat and remove cover. Transfer the salmon from the water to a large bowl and remove the flesh from the skin. Dispose of the skin. Allow the salmon to rest until cool enough to handle.
2. Add the peppers, onions, parsley and chives to the bowl with the salmon. Using your hands, mix together, breaking apart the salmon. Add the breadcrumbs and mix again. Add the egg and continue to mix until it is evenly distributed. Add the celery seed, celery salt, and salt and pepper and mix again. Cover and cool in the refrigerator for an hour.
3. Preheat the oven to 350F/180C. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using your hands, mold the salmon mixture into balls (size will depend on whether you are using as an appetizer or a main). Place the formed salmon cakes onto the lined baking sheet. Bake them for 15 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.
About Kristen: Kristen Beddard was the founder of The Kale Project, an initiative that successfully reintroduced kale to France. She is the author of Bonjour Kale: A Memoir of Paris, Love and Recipes. Kristen and her husband and daughter recently moved back to New York City, and she hopes to start a new career in food activism and policy.