Salmon Cakes with a Roasted red pepper aioli

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There is so much that can be made with products that are often times thrown away. Yes, we do waste a lot of food. In my travels around the world this is not the case. Most every part of the animal will be used for some type of dish. Now, granted I was not a big fan of intestines in Cambodia but I do really enjoy offal products and I Love a hot steaming bowl of Pho with tendons and tripe. The other day we had our usual Menu Del Dia and the second course was ‘beef innards’ and it was delicious.

Salmon Cake with a Roasted Red Pepper Aioli

Fast forward to the Oregon Coast. Sports fishing is big business on the coast especially for salmon. We lived 7 miles north of the Rogue River that is famous for salmon fishing. In the summer fishermen come to this small community to hopefully catch a few of these delicious creatures. My favorite was always the “springers” that usually started coming into the river around April or so. They are super fatty making them tasty and moist, the absolute best salmon I have ever tasted. Add to that they have just arrived in from the sea so they are super fresh and bright. I remember seeing these same fish miles up river in Grants Pass after they had endure the long swim up the rapids and how they looked all beat up. Gold Beach really does have some amazing fish. Below is a video of Terri-Lynn catching her first salmon, which was a springer on the Rogue River.

Terri-Lynn catching her first salmon on the Rogue River

Unfortunately the typical salmon fisherman throws away so much of this meat. They will usually take only a filet off of each side of the salmon and throw everything else away. It is very easy to find 2-3 meals off of one salmon that just gets discarded into the trash can. I have a number of recipes for this delicious and valuable product and salmon cakes are certainly a favorite.

The usual amount most fishermen take from a catch throwing away the rest of the meat

During our time living in Gold Beach we had a few television shows and my wife Terri-Lynn was the host and quite the local celebrity. There was one time she decided to hang out at the fish cleaning station at the port and ask all the fishermen for their carcasses. This became a funny joke, “The girl from channel nine is asking for fish bones, TV must not pay very well”.

This came off of only a half of salmon that I purchased from our local fish market today. This will make 4 large salmon cakes. The two filets above equaled 6 large portions. So a half of a small salmon (about 3 pounds) made 4 meals. The filets could have been made smaller into 8 portions but I can eat a lot of salmon.

I begin by poaching the bones in white wine, some dill, lemon, garlic, Bay leaf, shallots and anything else you may enjoy in your poaching liquid. When it is finished I simply remove the meat from the bones and place it in a bowl.

Next saute up some onion, celery, garlic and red bell pepper. Add this to the salmon and dice up plain white bread. Add one egg and toss it lightly all together. Do not over mix this as you want nice big chunks of salmon in your cakes. This is the basic salmon cake and you can also substitute crab. I have another sustainable idea of how to use one dungeness crab to make three separate meals. I’ll be posting that someday I am sure.

Salmon, celery, onion, red bell pepper,white bread, egg

Form your salmon cakes in the size of patties that you would like and coat both sides with panko. Now here is a very important part. I then fry them on both sides in butter. This is not the time to think about being healthy or counting your calories. I use a good amount of butter here. Brown both sides and that’s it.

For the aioli I usually roast a bell pepper and sometimes a head of garlic. You can easily make your own mayonnaise or just get some out of a jar. On this particular occasion I happened to find a jar of artisan roasted bell peppers at the market and thought I would give it a try. I just added a few peppers to some mayonnaise and a few cloves of garlic in a blender and pushed a button.

Sometimes it is OK to cheat. These peppers actually tasted very good and made an excellent sauce.
Salmon cake with roasted red bell pepper aioli
This recipe is so easy I cooked it on our sail boat

I do not consider myself a great fisherman as I really do not have the patience to just stand around for hours waiting for a fish to bite my hook. I have caught quite a few brook trout however while backpacking in high mountain lakes, which is different as they tend to be very hungry and it’s almost not fair how many and how quickly you can catch them. Terri-Lynn and I have however caught a few salmon and steelhead while living on the southern Oregon coast and one time I landed a hen, or a female with eggs. This was exciting as I was able to take out the eggs and make caviar.

It is extremely tedious and time consuming to very gently separate each egg from the egg sack. But is was worth it.

Another quick lunch idea is to just put the bones in a frying pan with some salt and pepper and fry them up. Again the meat just slides off the bones. You will be shocked just how much salmon most people throw away!

If you make this recipe please leave a comment to let me know how you like it. And, if you have your own ideas of what to do with a salmon carcass please tell us!

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About XPLORE FILM and Sip & Stay

The Art of Life

Tony and Terri-Lynn met in 1987 as teenagers. In 1991 they were married.  Tony has been a professional musician his entire life and spent the 90’s touring and releasing albums.  In 2001 the couple left the cities and moved to a small community on the Oregon coast. This is where they fell into television production and film making. In 2004 Makai Ohana Productions was founded and the couple produced advertising and creative content for hundreds of tourism related businesses and government entities in Southern Oregon and Northern California. Realizing the industry was evolving towards the internet they re-branded the business in 2012 to Xplore Film.  This company would now be an international business producing films world wide as well as an NGO in West Africa where the couple provides clean water boreholes, scholarships and even a prosthetic hand project.

In 2018 Tony and Terri-Lynn with their dog Bisque Kitt packed the belongings they could carry on their backs and flew to Spain. They bought a home and planned to spend equal time between the two countries running the business.  Then Covid hit and the world closed.  By 2020 they realized Spain, and specifically Torrevieja was now home.  They bought a sailboat and started to create a life on the Costa Blanca of music, film, events and community.

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