Leticia Moreinos Schwartz
Thanks to the power of Chilean aquaculture, salmon is widely consumed all over Latin America today. I love this dish because you can make it completely ahead of time and it’s great to serve a large crowd.
And cooking is fun — I simply can’t squeeze any more chopping, sautéing, mixing, stirring, and seasoning into any single dish. Every step of the process is packed full of cooking wonder!
This recipe has it all. Serve with wild rice, brown rice, quinoa, or any other grain of your preference.
Serves four to six.
For the Salmon Cakes:
- 2 slices wheat bread, crust removed
- 1¼ pounds salmon, skinned and bones removed
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- ¼ cup freshly chopped parsley
- ¼ cup freshly chopped cilantro
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon old bay seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
For the Sauce:
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
- ½ onion, finely chopped
- 4 scallions, green and white parts, chopped
- ¾ cup fish or shrimp stock (or clam juice)
- 1 cup coconut milk
- ½ cup freshly chopped parsley
- ½ cup freshly chopped cilantro
- Prepare the Salmon Cakes: Place the bread in a food processor and grind to crumbs. Reserve
- Using a very sharp knife, chop the fish very finely (pea-sized pieces) and place in a bowl; add the shallot, garlic, lemon zest, soy sauce, sesame oil, herbs, and spices, and season lightly with salt and pepper. Mix everything together with your hands (I like using plastic gloves for this task) and finally add the eggs. Shape the mixture into mini patties, about 2 inches in diameter. You should have between 16 and 18 small cakes. Place the cakes in a tray and cover loosely with plastic film; refrigerate the salmon cakes to firm up and develop the flavors, about 15 minutes.
- Cook the Salmon Cakes: Bring a large, deep, 12-inch frying pan to low heat. Warm 2 tablespoons of olive oil and fry the salmon cakes, in batches if necessary, cooking about 2 minutes per side until cakes look nicely caramelized on both sides. Remove the cakes from the pan and place in a tray, cover loosely with foil.
- Prepare the Sauce: Using the same pan, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and cook the garlic until it just starts to look golden brown — be careful as the pan is already hot from cooking the salmon cakes.
- Add the ginger and cook for another minute, careful not to burn.
- Add the onion and scallions, and cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until soft and translucent, another 3 minutes.
- Add the stock and bring to a boil over high heat.
- Add the coconut milk and bring back to a boil. Stir everything together and let the sauce incorporate. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.
- Lower the heat to the lowest setting and add the salmon cakes, nestling them in the sauce and making sure all of them fit nicely into the pan. If you feel the need to add more liquid, add another ½ cup of stock or water, just enough to bring the liquid halfway up the salmon cakes. Cover the pan and simmer gently on low heat for another 5 to 10 minutes, until cake and sauce bond in flavor. Turn off the heat and let the dish rest for another 5 minutes in the pan before serving. Garnish with cilantro and parsley, and serve.