Salmon cakes. Who am I kidding? These are salmon patties. But cakes sound so much chicer than patties, so I’m going with cakes. This recipe is from Julia Turshen’s new cookbook, Simply Julia, which I’m really enjoying. It’s an approachable, warm book with loads of healthyish takes on comfort food. I’m all about uncomplicated recipes that are satisfying and quick to throw together these days. I love Julia’s personal essays and really enjoyed all the recipes I’ve tried so far – sticky chicken, cornmeal cobbler with frozen fruit, crispy smashed turkey burgers, and a great all-purpose soy saucey/tehina dressing. Other things I’m dying to try from the book: the green spaghetti, kale and mushroom pot pie, and the sled dog muffins!
This recipe, called ‘ricotta and potato chip fish cakes with peas’ in the book, includes a creamy pea sauce which really took me back to childhood. My Aunt Jean made the most delicious salmon patties (pan fried in lots of butter) and always served with a creamy pea sauce. I didn’t know it was really a thing. I butchered the pea sauce here, unfortunately. I had neither enough peas or milk. The salmon cakes don’t really need it though… I also used crushed Ritz crackers instead of sour cream and onion (!) potato chips (which are undoubtedly fantastic). The ricotta adds a whipped lightness to the patties and lemon zest and Old Bay Seasoning give them tons of flavor. Don’t forget to hit these with a generous squeeze of lemon before eating, it really brightens it up! I served these with an easy stovetop mac and cheese and roasted broccoli. This trifecta of fish, mac and cheese, and broccoli is my comfort food love language.
Adapted slightly from Simply Julia
- 2 (6 ounce) cans of pink salmon packed in water, drained
- 2 ounces of Ritz crackers (half a sleeve-ish), crushed into fine crumbs
- 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
- 1 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning
- 1 lemon, zested
- 2 tablespoons chopped chives
- 2-3 tablespoons butter
In a large bowl, add the cracker crumbs, salmon, ricotta, lemon zest, chives, and Old Bay Seasoning. Stir mixture really well breaking up the salmon as you go. Form into 8 patties.
Place the butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Once butter melts and begins to bubble, place the fish cakes in the skillet and cook for about 2-3 minutes until nicely browned on the bottom. Flip each one over and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Try not to crowd the pan, you can fry them in batches adding more butter as you go. Transfer to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm. Cut the zested lemon into wedges and serve with the fish cakes.