Where There's a Will

It started with one of my best qualities: optimism. I was going past the fish case at a nearby fancy-schmancy market when my eyes fell upon some gorgeous wild salmon filets. I wasn’t sure how I would prepare it (broil? grill? Try out one of those smoker bags that stowed away some place?), I just new that a hunk of that salmon was coming home with me.

But then it became Thursday evening and one of my worst qualities set in: lethargy. I think the religious call it sloth. In my defense, I had spent most of the day furiously working on a project (a muslin for a dress that was going very, very badly), and when dinner time rolled around I lost all interest in the salmon.

The Girl fed right into my mood. When she found out that it was just the two of us for dinner she made a winning plea for Arthur Pasta. Still, I knew that I had to do something with the salmon while it was fresh, so I poached the salmon while we spooned up orange mounds of whatever Arthur pasta really is. And actually, the crispness of my Sancerre went well with the tang of the pasta. Well, it was kind of like that.

Now it's the next night, and I have opaque pink salmon, speckled with coriander seeds and peppercorns lying on a plate in the fridge. Again, its me and Es (Evan is at his studio painting again), but my energy is uplifted, having solved one of the horrible sewing problems. Optimism and enthusiasm take over and I make just about the world’s best salmon cakes. I adapated Mark Bittman’s Salmon Croquette recipe, borrowed an egg from next door, and served the delectable crusted patties at about 8:00 p.m.

I can attest to the fact that children love them. My sample size is weak, but according to my sole juvenile test subject they were “great” and “beautiful.” Adults too have raved. “Write this recipe down; it’s a winner,” said The tired and hungry Husband when he got home an hour later. And that was his comment after eating one cold!

Here’s how to make them:

Combine about 1 to 3/4 pound poached salmon with 1/3 C mayonnaise, 1/4 finely chopped white onion, 1/4 C finely chopped red bell pepper, about 2 tsp Dijon mustard, 1/2 to 3/4 C bread crumbs, one egg, 2 Tbl. finely chopped fresh parlsey, 1/2 tsp Tabasco sauce, 1/2 tsp. ground coriander, pepper, and a bit of salt.

Form into 3” round cakes, any bigger and they can be hard to flip.

Cover each cake in panko (Japanese bread crumb).

Pour 1/4 inch of oil in skillet and let it get pretty hot.

Cook each salmon cake about 2.5 minutes per side, letting the crust get golden brown. Adjust heat as necessary.

Let cakes rest and blot off extra oil on paper towels. Serve and enjoy.

Thanks to the Riverdale Salmon Students for the great salmon painting.

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