Raising six kids on a teacher’s salary, my parents were always cooking on a budget. Being Catholic, with the requirement back then of meatless Fridays, Lent or not, this meant that we ate a lot of tuna macaroni salad and fried fish. My mother often made tuna patties for us, and less frequently, because they were more expensive, salmon patties.
For several years my father and I tried to talk my mother into making salmon patties again for us. For some unfathomable reason, she refused, even going as far to claim that she never made them in the first place. After a while we gave up and my father set about to make these salmon patties himself, with his own spur-of-the-moment recipe.
Salmon patties, or salmon cakes, are wonderfully easy to make. The base is just cooked salmon, shredded bread, bread crumbs or even saltines, chopped onion, and egg to bind it all into patties, which are then quickly fried.
In this recipe my father dresses up the patties with garlic, dill, bell pepper, and paprika. I’ve added some lemon zest and lemon juice. You could also add parsley, Old Bay seasoning, Worcestershire sauce, or cilantro. Feel free to improvise!
Updated from the recipe archive. First posted 2007.
- 1 (14.75 ounce) can salmon, undrained and flaked
- 1 slice of bread, shredded
- 3 Tbsp chopped green onion, including the green parts
- 1 medium garlic clove, minced
- 1 Tbsp fresh chopped dill weed, or 1 teaspoon dried
- 3 Tbsp minced green bell pepper
- 1 Tbsp flour
- 1 egg
- 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Several turns of freshly ground black pepper
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
1 In a large bowl, gently mix together the salmon, bread, green onion, garlic, dill, bell pepper, flour, egg, paprika, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Form into 8 patties; each about 1/2 inch thick.
2 Heat olive oil over medium high heat in a large skillet. Cook the patties until nicely browned on both sides, about 3-4 minutes per side.