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Salmon Cakes Made from Canned Salmon

January 23, 2012 | Tags: Deborah Madison , Food , Vegetables | Post comment

Salmon Cakes Made from Canned Salmon

Fresh wild salmon is expensive. It’s also seasonal even though we see it in the supermarket year around. Right now for example, it’s previously frozen, although it looks fresh. It tastes fine, but for the money, I’d rather get my wild salmon in a can. It comes from Alaska and costs a fraction of the cost that fresh does. The disadvantage is that it’s chunk, not a fresh fillet that you can cook in a skillet. It also has little bones in it that are soft, the way they are in sardines. You can just leave them in or pick them out. But what this salmon is great for is making salmon cakes. They take just a few moments to put together. A 7 ½ ounce can of salmon makes generous cakes for two. Or a can twice that size will feed four. If you are cooking for yourself, make one fresh and freeze the other for later, or refrigerate it and have it 2 or 3 days later.

I lace my salmon with parsley, fresh tarragon if I have it, shallot or scallion, lemon zest, a little mayonnaise and an egg. Breadcrumbs bind it all together. I’ve tried it without the egg, but the salmon is much more likely to fall apart in the skillet unless it has some binder. Even the egg white alone will help.  

On the side? You can shave a bulb of fennel on a mandolin, toss it with salt and lemon juice and pile it next to the salmon cake. It’s crisp and clean tasting and perfect with the salmon.

Ingredients (Makes Two Salmon Cakes)

1-7 ½ ounce can of salmon
1 shallot, diced, or 2 tablespoons slivered scallions
1 teaspoon fresh tarragon, minced, if available (basil is good, too)
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
grated zest of one lemon
2 tablespoons mayonnaise or plain or greek yogurt
1 small egg or 1 egg white
¼ teaspoon salt
freshly ground pepper
½ cup whole grain bread crumbs or more, if needed.


1. Drain the liquid from the salmon and turn it into a bowl. Remove the bones, if you wish, then mix the fish with the shallot, herbs, lemon zest and yogurt with a fork, leaving some texture.  Stir in the egg, season with salt and pepper, then add breadcrumbs. Use your hands to gently work the mixture together, then form into two cakes, slightly less than 1 inch thick.

2. Heat a skillet and coat with a little oil (olive or canola). Add the cakes and cook over medium heat until nicely browned, then turn and brown the other side, about 4 minutes a side.

3. Transfer to a plate and serve with a salad.