Monthly Archives: March 2014

Salmon Cakes Like You’ve NEVER Tasted!

I can’t believe I’m actually saying this:salmon_cakes_from_a_dollar_store_gourmet

I’ve just had the absolute best salmon cake I’ve ever eaten in my life.

“Salmon cake?” you say.

Salmon cake, I say.

But wait…this isn’t just any salmon cake.  I’ll compare this to any crab cake I’ve ever had (I lived in Crabcake County, Maryland and vacation near the Chesapeake every summer), and I’ll stack this up against the best crab cake anyone has to offer.

I’m telling you, put this baby between pieces of crusty Kaiser roll with fresh Boston Bibb, a thick slab of Jersey tomato, (maybe a thin slice of red onion?) and your favorite sauce (Tartar?  Remoulade? Cocktail? Tzatziki?, take your pick—this time I went with a real horseradishy cocktail sauce, but I can’t wait to try it with a good Remoulade), and you may never go back to that pricey jumbo-lump again.  It’s spicy, tangy, and wonderful, extremely accessible, and gluten-free to boot.  It works almost as well with a good can of salmon as it would with a piece of poached salmon from Costco.

As Ken Hoffman would boringly say, “Here’s the blueprint…

South-Beach-Friendly Salmon Cakes


12 ounces fresh salmon, poached 10 minutes in water, white wine, black pepper corns, and a bay leaf


1 good 14-oz can of salmon

¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon almond meal (almonds crushed to the consistency of corn meal—available at health-food stores, better grocery stores, or do it yourself with a food processor)

4 finely chopped green onions

1 tablespoon drained capers, finely chopped

Lemon-fennel sea salt (recipe to follow)

Freshly ground pepper to taste (I used a lot!)

2 eggs

4 teaspoons olive oil

2 teaspoons butter


Place the poached salmon or the drained canned salmon in a large bowl. Stir in green onions, capers, almond meal, Lemon-fennel sea salt, and black pepper; toss to mix well, breaking up the salmon into small pieces.  Beat two eggs in a separate bowl, then add to the salmon and toss well.

Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil and 1 teaspoon butter in a large heavy skillet.  When the oil/butter is hot, shape the salmon into flat patties about 4 inches in diameter and ¾ inches thick, and place in the hot oil.  Cook 7 minutes on the first side over medium heat without touching the patties, until they are lightly browned and starting to get firm.

Add the remaining olive oil and butter, then turn the patties and cook on the second side until they are firm and browned on the second side, about 6 minutes untouched.

Turn off the heat, prepare your roll with lettuce, tomato, and the sauce of your choice, and place the hot salmon cake on top. Cap the salmon cake with a bit more sauce, complete the sandwich, and serve with your favorite slaw and a cold beer.  Or a cold glass of white.

Full Disclosure:  this recipe was adapted from one on the South-Beach recipe site Kalyn’s Kitchen (, but it is better than that, but just as “South Beachy,” and I know South Beach just about as well as anyone.

Lemon-Fennel Salt

Combine ¼ cup coarse sea salt with 2 tablespoons toasted fennel seeds and 1 tablespoon dried lemon zest (Penzey’s, Spice Islands, or make your own).  Keep in a pretty, airtight jar in your spice cupboard and use liberally on seafood or chicken.P1100122

Kalyn’s Kitchen Mini Greek Meatballs

This recipe comes from Kalyn’s Kitchen (, one of the best recipe sites for anyone on the South Beach diet plan.  The South Beach plan is a high-protein, low-carbohydrate plan that utilizes three stages of the plan:  Stage One is a strict regimen of high-protein eating; Stage Two adds a small amount of carbs, and Stage Three is maintenance.  It avows fruits almost completely, which is why I won’t get anywhere near it—I follow the Weight Watchers’ program.  But it is a good plan for losing significant weight fast.  I find that it is a harder diet to maintain for long periods, and doesn’t set up a life-long eating plan, which I need to maintain weight.  I find that the best way to maintain a good healthy weight is to adopt a lifestyle that includes lots of different foods in moderation.

That said, the recipes in Kalyn’s Kitchen are wonderful as standalone recipes, and can be made and served anytime.  On their own, they are healthy and tasty, and ought not be disregarded because they come from a certain diet plan.  Check out Kalyn’s kitchen when you have time, and enjoy her recipes.greek-meatballs


1 pound lean ground beef (or turkey)

½ small red onion, minced

½ cup very finely crumbled feta cheese (measure cheese after crumbling)

2 cloves garlic, minced fine

1 large egg

1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil plus more for baking dish

1 Tablespoon dried Greek oregano

4 teaspoons red wine vinegar

¼ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon Greek seasoning (optional; but use, and get it from Penzey’s:


Preheat oven to 400ºF.  Use a food processor to chop the onion very finely, then drain if there is a lot of liquid.

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, then mix with your hands (Is there really any other way to mix meatballs?).

Lightly oil a 9×13 baking dish; shape meatballs into 1-tablespoon-size meatballs and place in the baking dish.  Bake for 20 minutes, after which you will see some liquid oozing out.  Turn the meatballs and bake 10 more minutes. Turn again and bake another 5-10 minutes, until they are well browned and cooked through.

Serve with warm pitas and Tzatziki sauce.

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