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Tender Salmon Croquettes With a Crispy-Crunchy Coating
Salmon cakes, salmon patties, salmon croquettes—this yummy salmon dish goes by many names. No matter what you call them, these pan-fried, golden goodies are a delightful mix of tender and crisp, meaty and crunchy.
Salmon cakes tend to be a life-saver sort of meal at my house because they can be made at a moment’s notice with items from the pantry. Pouches of salmon and a canister of ready-made, dried bread crumbs are almost always in my panty; other ingredients are eggs and onions, which are staples in my fridge. This makes salmon cakes a great dinner to whip up for those nights when I realize—at 5:30 p.m.—that I haven’t remembered to set out any meat to thaw. Another great thing about salmon cakes is that everyone in my family loves them, so I’m guaranteed not to have leftovers.
I prefer to use the salmon that comes in pouches; of course you don’t have to. You can use fresh (already cooked) salmon or canned salmon, but for convenience I prefer to use the pouch salmon. Like canned salmon, pouch salmon keeps in the pantry almost indefinitely. Unlike canned salmon, however, the pouch salmon has no bones or skin that must be picked out, and no liquid that must be drained.
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What Kind of Breadcrumbs?
For this recipe I use two different types of breadcrumbs. That may sound a little overboard or unnecessary, but each type serves its purpose. When assembling the salmon mixture, I use regular old seasoned breadcrumbs to help the patties keep their shape. However, before cooking the cakes, I cover them in panko breadcrumbs, which provide extra crunch.
For the coating, you can substitute standard breadcrumbs for panko and the salmon cakes will turn out well, but not as crunchy. However, do not substitute panko for standard breadcrumbs when making the salmon mixture. I tried that once, but the panko breadcrumbs disintegrated into a pile of mush. I do not recommend them for that portion of the recipe—only for the coating.
- 1/2 to 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup chopped onion
- 1 (5-ounce) pouch salmon
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon salt or seasoned salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup dried, seasoned breadcrumbs
- olive oil for frying
- Chop the onion. You can make it as chunky as you like, but I tend to prefer that the pieces be fairly finely diced.
- In a medium sized bowl, combine the salmon from both pouches with the onion and eggs.
- Add salt, pepper, garlic and about ½ cup of regular (not panko) breadcrumbs to the salmon/onion/egg mixture. Mix with a fork until well blended.
- Divide the mixture into six equal portions.
- Roll one portion into a ball, then gently flatten it to make a patty about ½ inch to 3/8 inch thick.
- Place the patty in the shallow dish of panko crumbs and gently press down to coat the patty with crumbs. Flip it over and repeat to coat the other side with crumbs.
- If handling the patty to shape it and coat it in crumbs causes it to fall apart easily, this means the meat mixture is too wet. Place the patty back in the bowl with the rest of the salmon mixture. Add about ¼ cup more standard breadcrumbs and mix well again. Try molding a patty again; if the patties still will not hold together, mix in another ¼ cup of standard breadcrumbs. Divide into six portions again, shape portions into patties and coat each in panko crumbs.
- Pour enough olive oil into a skillet so that the oil is about 1/8 inch to ¼ inch deep. Turn the stove burner to medium to medium-high and allow oil to heat for a few minutes. Place panko-crusted patties into the heated oil and cook until browned, about 5-6 minutes. Carefully flip each salmon cake and cook until the other side is also browned, about 3-4 minutes.
- Move salmon patties to paper towels to absorb excess oil. Serve with lemon wedges and cocktail sauce, tartar sauce, Cajun hot sauce or "Betty's Dill Pickle Remoulade" from the video, below. On the side, Cajun dirty rice, crusty French bread or even fettuccine Alfredo go nicely, as do steamed fresh vegetables such as carrots, sugar snap peas, broccoli and zucchini.