Richard’s Copper River Salmon Croquettes
Wine Varietal: Pinot Noir
During the glorious summer months, when the Copper River salmon are running, my favorite fishmonger at Pure Food Fish in the Pike Place Market, Richard Hoage, saves some of the meaty bones as a special treat. I take them home and scrape away the succulent nubbins of flesh, then use Richard’s recipe to make salmon croquettes. Sometimes I add my own flourishes, such as diced red or green peppers or fresh corn kernels, depending on what’s handy in the vegetable compartment and what strikes my fancy. Serve with a dollop of crème fraîche, best-quality mayonnaise, or your favorite barbecue sauce or salsa verde.
1 large egg
Pinch of salt
Pinch of freshly ground black or white pepper
1/2 white or yellow medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley, or 1 tablespoon minced cilantro, plus additional sprigs for garnish
1 pound scraped Copper River salmon meat or 1 pound wild Alaskan salmon fillet, skin and bones removed, minced by hand or food processor
1 to 1 1/2 cups unseasoned soft bread crumbs (See Cook’s Hint, below)
1 tablespoon olive oil or 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil and 1 1/2 teaspoons unsalted butter
Lemon wedges, for garnish
1. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the egg, salt, pepper, onion, garlic, and the minced parsley. Add the salmon and gently stir until the egg mixture is well incorporated. Add 1 cup of the bread crumbs and stir again. If the salmon mixture is too sticky to handle, add the remaining bread crumbs and stir again. Divide the salmon into 4 portions and form into patties. Do not handle or pat the salmon any more than is absolutely necessary.
2. Over medium heat, place a nonstick skillet large enough to hold the patties without crowding. When the pan is hot, add the olive oil. When the oil is hot but not smoking, add the patties and cook 5 minutes, or until lightly browned. Turn and cook 3 to 5 minutes more, or until the patties just turn opaque in the middle. Alternately, the patties can be baked on a lightly greased baking sheet in a 400°F oven for 6 to 8 minutes on each side. or until the patties are lightly browned. Or broil the patties 4 to 6 inches from the heat source for 4 to 5 minutes on each side.
3. Transfer the croquettes to individual plates, garnish with the parsley sprigs and lemon wedges, and serve.
Cook’s Hint: To make unseasoned soft (fresh) bread crumbs, tear slices of white or whole-wheat bread into chunks and place them in a food processor. Process until crumbs of the desired size form. Fresh bread crumbs can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week; in the freezer, tightly wrapped, they keep for about six months.
Photograph Courtesy of Spencer Johnson.